The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 09/22/15
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: That is “ALL IN”.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks.
HAYES: You bet.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining this hour.
On a Norwegian island, 800 miles from the North Pole deep underground,
there is a vault. It took decades to conceive, it took years to build. It
has been operating there for seven years, open in 2008. But the idea of
this vault is that it should stay in operation until the end of days.
And I`m not even really exaggerating by saying that. The idea is that
this vault should be there for us humans as a species when inevitably we
humans do something so dumb or maybe some asteroid does something so
cataclysmic to the earth that whatever humans are left on earth will need
to deliberately re-create from scratch the things that make human life
possible and sustainable on our wretched wrecked little planet.
On that Norwegian island, way up there in the Arctic, what that
underground vault holds are seeds – seeds as many diverse human food crop
seeds as possible. Hundreds of thousands of them in deep freeze buried in
an underground vault at the North Pole.
So if, say, we have a global nuclear war or some international global
pandemic that kills almost everyone or some radical global cataclysm that
does humans in in some other way – well, at least there`s this. At least
there`s there one deep vault that hopefully has been able to protect the
seeds for basic survival crops like beans and rice and wheat. So maybe
some day as a species, even after a global cataclysm, we will be able
regrow ourselves a human future.
I mean, coming up with an idea like this takes a pretty dark view of
where humans are headed, what we are capable of doing to this planet. They
call this thing the “doomsday vault” after all.
That said, it`s nice to have, right? I mean, it`s nice that somebody
is thinking about the value you have keeping us humans around as a species
even if things really do go that pear shaped some day.
Well, today, as the religious leader of the Catholic Church, as Pope
Francis made the first visit of his lifetime to the United States, where
he`s expected to address both the United Nations in New York and in
Washington, the government of the most powerful nation on Earth, he will be
the first pope to ever address a joint session of the U.S. Congress while
he is here on this trip. Today as Pope Francis arrived in the United
States to start this historic unprecedented visit, up at that vault, deep
inside that Arctic Norwegian island, today, somebody for the first time
ever made a withdrawal from the doomsday vault.
The Syrian city of Aleppo for years has been home to a central
regional seed bank where they keep seeds for food crops and crops crucial
for live stock which can grow even in the most dire drought conditions in
the Middle East. The seed bank in Aleppo is a crucial source of drought
resistant seeds for things like wheat and barley and important types of
grasses. Well, the Syrian civil war is grinding into its fifth year now.
And that crucial seed bank in the city of Aleppo is apparently one of that
And so, now, as of today, they have formally requested to please
withdraw some of the doomsday seeds from that vault in Norway to make up
for what has been lost in that war. The first time the doomsday vault has
ever been tapped.
That civil war in Syria has killed a quarter million people so far.
It has forced 11 million people to leave their homes, most of them fleeing
for their lives. That`s half the population of that country, 11 million
So many people have been killed and forced out of various parts of
Syria now that it is starting to appear that whole swathes of Syria are
just being depopulated of civilians. And those poor civilians have now
become an issue for the rest of the world. The European Union today made a
controversial decision to try to settle 120,000 of those Syrian civilians
in various European countries even though some of those countries who were
in on the decision really do not want to do it.
And amid all of these intense headlines today, right, the moral
imperative to care for these desperate people, the logistical and economic
issues of how to care for them equitably and justly, the creepy feeling we
humans are flirting with the end of the world by having to access our
doomsday plans, amid all of that happening in the physical world and in the
moral universe today, today comes the visit by this new pope, arriving in
the United States for his first ever trip to this country. First ever trip
to the U.S. not just as pope but the first ever trip to the U.S. in his
After he became pope in 2013, you might remember that the first trip
that Pope Francis took outside of Rome was to a place called Lampedusa.
Lampedusa is an island that is part of Italy, but it`s way out there off
the Italian coast in the Mediterranean Sea, it`s actually closer to
northern Africa than anything else.
And Lampedusa has become an international by word for desperation.
Lampedusa has for years now been a desperate way station for migrants and
refugees trying to flee their own countries for their own survival or for a
better life, trying to get to Europe. And the very first thing that Pope
Francis did after he became pope was that he traveled to Lampedusa, to make
common cause with these most desperate people in the whole world, and to
pray for those of them who had been lost at sea trying to get there.
So, any pope coming to the United States at any time is a huge deal
for this country where basically, a quarter of the American population is
Catholic in one way or another. But this pope coming to this country at
this time is a truly singular thing. Given who he is and given what else
is going on in the world.
And so his Alitalia jet touched down today at Andrews Air Base.
President Obama was there to greet him in person along with the first lady
and their daughters Sasha and Malia Obama, also Sasha and Malia`s
grandmother, the first lady`s mother was there in person. The whole first
family was there, along with the honor guard and lots of Vatican officials
and lots of American officials and a few very excited, a few hundred very
excited people who got special tickets to be there from what effectively is
the Vatican`s embassy in Washington where the pope will be spending the
The few hundred people who were there at Andrews today were shouting
for him, “Francisco, Francisco.” They shouted for him several different
chants in Spanish, welcoming him to the United States. This pope`s first
language, of course, is Spanish.
But then the crowd at Andrews today – this is very sober occasion,
this very statesman-like occasion, happy occasion, right? But then there`s
this crowd, and at one point, the crowd got to the point of the American
football style chants. I`m going to quote directly here, the crowd at one
point shouting, “Who, who, hey, hey, welcome to the USA”.
Which was awesome and then as the pope was getting into his car,
listen to this one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD (chanting): We love Francis, yes, we do! We love Francis, how
about you?! We love Francis, yes, we do! We love Francis, how about you?!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: We love Francis, yes, we do, we love Francis, how about you?
Like there`s an opposing team on other side of the bleachers or
something, right? An opposing team they`re challenging for the strength of
their people love.
It was awesomely American. All of it, including the chants in
Spanish, including the one that felt like maybe there were cheerleaders
involved who are about to do a pyramid with pom-poms.
And then at that point in the visit, look, he got into what I think we
must consider to be the world`s tiniest beast. You know how they call the
presidential be limo the beast? Here, for example, this is the beast.
This is the – do we have the president`s car? The armored presidential
There`s, on the right. That`s the president`s armored limo. That`s
the beast. Look at the pope`s car in his tiny little Fiat. He got Fiat
500. He rolled the windows down. And he left in that tiny little car for
the motorcade to the church and the embassy venue where he will be spending
And then starts a truly exhausting but for American Catholics and I
think for a lot of other people a very exciting series of events. Some of
which are going to be really, really huge.
I mean, tomorrow the pope is going to be welcomed at the White House
at an event that is not only expected to include the president, it`s also
expected to include another 15,000 people. At 11:00 a.m. tomorrow, there`s
going to be what they`re calling a papal parade, basically a Popemobile
motorcade through the streets of Washington, D.C. That is an unticketed
event but people have to go through metal detectors and get there early in
order to get close enough to see the pope on that parade. Many thousands
of people are expected to do that, but we don`t know exactly how many.
We`ll have to see how many when people turn out.
He`ll then be doing a prayer service in the middle of the day with
Catholic bishops. And then, tomorrow afternoon, 4:15 at the National
Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, there will be 30,000 people expected
while Pope Francis canonizes Father Junipero Serra as America`s newest
saint, a not uncontroversial decision. But that will happen before 30,000
people tomorrow. That`s all tomorrow.
And then, the following day, on Thursday morning, he is going to do
something no pope has done before. At 9:20 on Thursday morning, Pope
Francis will deliver a joint address to Congress. Nobody knows exactly
what the subject is going to be. Pope Francis obviously has strong
political-ish opinions on a number of issues that are considered to be
parties and highly charged issues in the United States.
Honestly, if you want to know what to anticipate there from his
previous trips to other countries, I think it`s fair to say – we`ll talk
about this with E.J. Dionne a little bit later on. But I think it`s fair
to say that if you look at what this pope has done, even as he has made
politically charged pronouncements on a number of controversial issues,
when he has traveled to other countries so far in his papacy, he has
avoided hitting too many domestic political hot buttons directly when he
visits other countries and makes public remark. And so, maybe that`s a way
to set our expectations for that congressional speech.
But again, who knows? No pope has spoken to a joint session of
Congress before. So, we have no idea what he`s going to say or how he`s
going to view the historical and political import of that opportunity.
It`s never happened before.
Every seat inside Congress and all the galleries, of course, will,
obviously, be filled for that historic address. But they`re also expecting
50,000 people outside, 50,000 people, and that`s just in the ticketed area,
outside the west front of the capital. To both watch that address that
Congress on screens that they`re going to set up outside and also to see
the pope in person as he is expected to come out to the speaker`s balcony
at the capitol and at least wave and maybe make some short remarks after
his formal speech.
To get a sense of the scale though, in addition to the completely full
capitol, in addition to the 50,000 people who have tickets to be at that
event, who else doesn`t have a ticket that`s going to show up? I mean,
nobody knows how many more thousands of people will show up outside the
ticketed area in hopes of watching him on the screen and maybe catching a
glimpse of him while he`s there.
After his address to Congress, the pope is not doing some high
faluting, you know, event with high ranking politicians or the president or
something. After his speech to Congress, he`s made the decision he will
then go have lunch with homeless people at a downtown Washington, D.C.
Catholic Charities venue.
And then after that, he will set off for New York City and do a
vespers service at St. Patrick`s Cathedral on Thursday night. That will be
the first of several New York events where there will be crowds of people
there to see him and participate in these events but the public at large
won`t have any large scale access to him. That`s going to be true at the
vespers service at St. Patrick`s, and that also be true when he speaks at
the United Nations in Manhattan on Friday morning, and then goes to the
9/11 Memorial downtown, and then he will visit a school in East Harlem
Friday at midday.
But then, at 5:00, it`s going to be another Popemobile parade, this
time through Central Park. This is on Friday. And again, for security
reasons, they have set up a cordon around where the pope is going to be for
that will Popemobile motorcade through Central Park. You will need a
ticket to get inside that cordon.
But get this New York City has handed out ticks just to see the pope
drive through Central Park. They have handed out 80,000 tickets. Just to
see him drive through.
And then at 6:00 on Friday night where is he driving to is Madison
Square Garden where he will say a mass at Madison Square Garden in front of
a capacity crowd of 20,000 people.
That`s all by the end of this week before he gets to a weekend full of
events in Philadelphia that`s going to include a mass before an estimated 1
million people on Sunday afternoon.
So, this is an event. I mean, this is obviously a religious event.
It is a cultural event. On the East Coast of the United States, it is a
huge security event.
But it`s impossible not to acknowledge it`s also a political event,
not just because of the views of this pope and their political implications
but also because of the places where there are intersections and not
intersections between the views of this pope and the views of our own
politicians including our president.
Today, at Andrews Air Base, it was not the first time that this pope
and President Obama have met in person. President Obama was at the Vatican
last March. He met privately with Pope Francis at the Vatican last year.
It`s interesting, there`s always an exchange of gifts at meetings like
that. Famously at that visit to the Vatican, what President Obama brought
Pope Francis as a gift was a seed chest, was a handmade box full of seeds
from the White House garden, seeds for fruits and vegetables.
And some people in our country criticizes President Obama for that
gift and yes, as gifts go if this is how you judge them, that is a fairly
cheap gift. But for this pope, I think that was probably the right tone.
And for all the issues on which this pope and this president disagree,
for all the pope`s religious conservatism on issues like abortion, for
example, and gay rights, part of the reason this papal visit to the United
States feels like such a big deal on such an important moment for our
country whether or not you`re Catholic is because of the ways this
president and this pope really do see eye to eye on big and controversial
issues, the ways in which these two leaders are aligned, which in turn
explains how we ended up in a place where the country at large seems pretty
psyched about this big historic visit by Pope Francis and there are tens of
thousands of people turning out to see him everywhere he goes. And it may
very well be a million people who turn out to see him in person in
But maybe it`s because of the large scale alliance between our
president and this pope on some big important ideologically charged issues.
Maybe that`s why. Even for all this enthusiasm for this pope on this trip,
the American political right is not that psyched to see him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I just think the
pope was wrong. And so the fact is that his infallibility is on religious
matters, not on political ones.
SEN. JAMES INHOFFE (R), OKLAHOMA: Everyone`s got to ride the pope
now. Isn`t that wonderful? Well, the pope ought to stay with his job and
let us stay with ours.
JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t get economic policy
from my bishops or my cardinals or from my pope.
RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would just say that
this, that, you know, the church has gotten it wrong a few times on
science. And I think that we probably are better off leaving science to
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The most dangerous person on the planet is
somebody who is seeking strange new respect from their adversaries. That
is what the pope is doing. He doesn`t want to be your grandfather`s pope.
He wants to be modern pope. All he needs is dreadlocks and a dog with a
bandana and he could be on Occupy Wall Street.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: So, here`s the moment, you meet the pope.
Pope Francis comes. There`s a translator there.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Right.
CUOMO: And he says, oh, Mr. Trump, this is very nice. And then he
says, you know, I want to tell him something, the translator says to you,
the pope believes that capitalism can be a real avenue to greed, it can be
really toxic and corrupt. He`s shaking his finger at you when he says it.
What do you say in response to the pope?
TRUMP: I`d say ISIS wants to get you. Do you know that ISIS wants to
go in and take over the Vatican? You have heard that. You know that`s a
dream of theirs to go in to Italy. You do know that.
CUOMO: Are you talking about capitalism? Do you scare the pope?
TRUMP: No, I`m going to have to scare the pope.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I don`t think the pope is scared of any American politician.
But with our country transfixed by this historic visit, and the
American right basically against him, this has a weird moment and a big
moment and sort of and I think an unpredictable moment in American politics
and in American culture.
And to some people, it probably feels like the end of the world. But
so far, it`s been really fun.
MADDOW: So, today, at the same time, we had Pope Francis landing in
the United States for the first time ever and we had former Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton making a major policy announcement, happened at
nearly exactly the same time. You will never guess which one got more
More on both of those stories ahead. Stay with us.
MADDOW: January 14th, no, January 4th, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson
happened to be in Paris negotiating the treaty to end World War I. While
he was there, while he was in Europe, he decided he would make a side trip
to Rome. And he in 1919 became the very first U.S. president ever to visit
the Vatican to meet with the pope. He met with Pope Benedict XV.
The next time a U.S. president would visit the Vatican to meet with
the pope wouldn`t happen for another 40 years. December 6th, 1959,
President Eisenhower went to the Vatican to visit Pope John XXIII.
When President John F. Kennedy, who`s the first and so far the only
Catholic president our country has ever had, when President John F. Kennedy
was planning on visiting the Vatican, the pope at the time was so excited
to meet with him that he sent him this private letter which presidential
historian Michael Beschloss tweeted today. Among other things, the letter
praises the many admirable qualities that have made the United States a
leading member of the family of nations.
The next president, of course, was LBJ. And when Lyndon B. Johnson
visited Pope Paul VI, President Johns was thoughtful enough to bring the
pope a gift and the gift that he brought the pope was a bust of himself.
Not a bust of the pope, but a bust of Johnson.
Nice to meet you. Here`s a statue of me for you to remember me by.
The first American president who ever received the pope at the White
House was President Jimmy Carter in 1979.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good afternoon and good morning. This is
Washington where the pope arrived this morning, is going to be in
Washington throughout the day in a short time, he will go to the White
House where he will be greeted by President Carter and a group of officials
and others. The first time this has ever happened. He is running a little
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he will say to the president of United States
that he comes too late because of you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Late or not, Pope John Paul II was the first pope to ever be
welcomed to the White House.
President George W. Bush traveled to the Vatican more often than any
president ever has. He went four times in all during his presidency.
When Pope Benedict, who this pope`s predecessor, when he visited
Washington on his 81st birthday, President George W. Bush famously gave him
a ginormous four-tiered lemon birthday cake. Happy papal birthday.
President Obama met Pope Francis for the first time last year at the
Vatican. Today, President Obama and his family greeted Pope Francis on
arrival at Andrews, along with Vice President Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill
Biden, and their grandchildren.
The vice president is known to be devoutly Catholic. He has been
vocal about his faith throughout his time in public life.
Tonight is this pope`s first ever night in the United States. The
first thing on his agenda tomorrow morning is to meet with the President
Obama at the White House, along with 15,000 other well-wishers.
Joining us now is “Washington Post” columnist E.J. Dionne. E.J.
covered the Vatican for years for “The New York Times”. He reported on a
number of papal visits around the world.
E.J., it`s great to see you. Thank you so much for being here.
E.J. DIONNE, WASHINGTON POST: It`s good to be with you, Rachel. I
love your celebration of this visit.
MADDOW: It is a big deal. I mean, I feel like it`s important to note
that you know, popes have been here before and presidents and popes have
had interesting political alliances. I mean, it`s not that the only thing
that`s unprecedented here is the address to Congress. But is there a
reason that a million people are going to turn out in Philadelphia, that
there is this address to Congress, that there are some so many meetings
that are so high profile and that so many people are going to get so many
opportunities to see him? Is that the way papal visits go?
DIONNE: Yes, I mean I think all pal visits have a couple things in
common. One is lots of Catholics get very excited, turn out in large
numbers. And as you pointed out in the intro, they cheer like they`re at a
And so – but the other common thread especially in recent years is
that lots of people look at well, what impact will this have on our
politics? It`s not just this pope that we raise that question about, what
impact will he have on the church itself. And I think that one of the
reasons this visit is so important is not so much that Francis is taking
the church in an entirely new direction because he`s still as you pointed
out, has the same views as the church always has had on issues like
But he has said very specifically we, meaning the church, cannot
insist only on abortion and gay marriage and contraception as the central
issues. He said we need a new balance. His new balance has involved
reclaiming the church`s strong position on social justice and dealing with
poverty. And he`s talked about global warming a lot and issued a powerful
encyclical on it. And he`s talked a lot about welcoming immigrants.
And we`re not accustomed for the last 20 years for the Catholic Church
to stand so strongly and vocally on issues that we tend to associate with
the progressive side of politics. And that`s creating a special form of
excitement and among some, not all conservatives but as you pointed out,
some conservatives a certain amount of anxiety.
MADDOW: E.J., why is this pope addressing Congress specifically? I
mean, no pope has ever done that before. Is this just happenstance that
Congress has always wanted the pope to say yes and this is the first one
who ever thought it was a good idea?
DIONNE: Well, you know, it basically comes because of Speaker John
Boehner`s invitation. And it`s interesting, you think about the history of
anti-Catholicism in America, and then we finally elect a John Kennedy.
Standing behind him tomorrow will be the Catholic speaker of the House and
the Catholic vice president of the United States. It gives you hope that
some of our prejudice against Muslims we`re seeing out there, that this too
will pass in our country. But I think it is largely because of Boehner.
But also because this pope has had such a powerful voice on these
issues and also has demonstrated something that it`s not just the talk.
You pointed out he`s going to visit Catholic charities here. He`s not
going to some fancy ball. He`s visiting with immigrants and people who
wash cars and migrant workers when he`s up in New York.
And so, I think this pope has a particular standing, and you know, any
conservative who cares about the poor as well as most progressives has to
MADDOW: E.J. Dionne, “Washington Post” columnist, thank you, E.J.
You`ve been so eloquent. Not reading your past coverage of John Paul`s
visits, for example, around the world, you`ve been so eloquent on this
visit, but also in your previous coverage on these issues. Thanks for
being with us tonight. It`s nice to see you.
DIONNE: Well, bless you. Thank you so much.
MADDOW: Thank you.
We`ve got much more to come tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: We`ve got lots ahead tonight, including Hillary Clinton
taking a position on one very big, very controversial issue she has
previously refused to discuss. That story is coming up next.
And presidential candidate Carly Fiorina today picked the scariest
word possible for the scariest possible topic in the news.
It`s a big news day politically and otherwise. Stay with us.
MADDOW: There`s a lot ahead tonight on what`s going on in 2016
politics now that Scott Walker has dropped out of the race. Carly Fiorina
is surging into territory that Scott Walker used to occupy in the top tiers
of Republican contenders.
But Carly Fiorina made a terrible remark today on the campaign trail
that is probably going to follow her around for a while. We`ve got that on
tape today and that`s still ahead.
But today on the Democratic side of the race, former Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton made news. She made big legit news by coming out
finally against the Keystone Pipeline. She started off explaining why she
had previously not said what she thought about the Keystone Pipeline. She
had not said whether or not she favored it. But then she explained she
couldn`t wait any longer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was in a unique
position having been secretary of state, having started this process. And
not wanting to you know, interfere the ongoing decision-making that both
the president and Secretary Kerry have to do in order to make whatever the
final decision might be. So, I thought this would be decided by now. And
therefore, I could tell you whether I agreed or I disagreed.
But it hasn`t been decided and I feel now I`ve got a responsibility to
you and other voter who`s ask me about this. And I think it is imperative
that we look at the keystone pipeline as what I believe it is, a
distraction from the important work we have to do to combat climate change
and unfortunately, from my perspective, one that interferes with our
ability to move forward to deal with all the other issues.
Therefore, I oppose it. And I oppose it because I don`t think –
I don`t think it`s in the best interests of what we need to do to
combat climate change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: First time she`s ever made that statement. On the day that
Pope Francis arrives in the U.S. after his landmark encyclical on climate
change, which E.J. just mentioned, everybody wondering if climate is in
part going to be the subject of the pope`s historic joint address to
Congress the day after tomorrow, on that same day, basically at that same
moment, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sticks her neck out on
this issue in a way she has never done before on this symbolically
important and literally important tar sands pipeline that would cross our
entire country. It has been the most controversial environmental issue in
the country for years now.
And then she went further. To talk about not just why it`s a bad idea
to build that new giant cross-country oil sands pipeline, she also said we
ought to work on our existing oil and gas infrastructure since it, after
all, has developed a nasty habit of blowing up all the time now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: We already have a lot of pipelines that are leaking. They
need to be repaired. They are dangerous. They are leaking methane. They
are at risk of causing damage.
So, I want to put thousands of Americans to work who are not only
going to be fixing those old pipelines, but also we`ve got railcars
transporting oil. I want those railcars and the rail beds and the rail
tracks they`re on to be repaired.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton today
coming out against the Keystone pipeline for one, also saying that she as a
presidential capped is in favor of doing the infrastructure work we need to
do, to fix the old leaky pipelines we have now saying we should fix our
railroads and train cars so American energy production involves fewer
previews of Armageddon in the local news.
I could be wrong, but I think this might be first time this issue has
been mentioned in this year`s election. This is front porch politics going
MADDOW: In the 2008 campaign, one of the turning points in John
McCain`s run for the presidency was when he was asked at a veterans` event
about Iran. And someone responded by singing a beach boys song into which
he substituted the words, “bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess my question is how many times do we have
to prove that these people are blowing up people now, never mind if they
get a nuclear weapon, when do we send them an air mail message to Tehran?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: You know that old beach boys song,
bomb Iran? You know, bomb, bomb, bomb – anyway.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was the 2008 campaign. John McCain, Republican
candidate for president of the United States.
Today, it was Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina who at
an event today seemed to suggest dropping not just a bomb but a nuclear
bomb on Iran. But then she took it right back right after she said it.
She said she actually meant something totally different.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Republicans in the
meantime, many are saying, oh, I would let this deal stand. I would see if
For heaven`s sake, they`ve been cheating for 30 years. How much more
evidence do we need?
But beyond that, if ever there was a time for the nuclear option, boy,
it`s the Iran deal. If ever there was a time for the nuclear option – I
don`t mean – let me explain. Let me explain. I realize that might be
confusing, the nuclear option in terms of Senate process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Oh. Oh! Bomb, bomb, not, I mean not bomb. I meant bon-bon.
Carly Fiorina spoke at the Citadel today in South Carolina. Nuclear,
nuclear, I don`t mean that kind of nuclear.
Ben Carson today was in Ohio. Jeb Bush today was in Iowa. John
Kasich is going to be on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” tonight on NBC.
Donald Trump is going to be on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on CBS.
On the Democratic side, today, Hillary Clinton made real news, real
headlines when she came out against the Keystone, Keystone people, and said
we should make the infrastructure fixes that will stop having our pipelines
and our oil trains blow up all over the place.
But on the Republican side right now, as all these people campaign in
their different ways, well or poorly or creatively, the question that`s now
hanging over almost all the Republican presidential contenders is the
question of who is going to quit next.
We started off this presidential season within 17 Republicans running
for the presidential nomination. The first one to poof off the list was
Rick Perry. He quit last Friday, September 11th. It was ten days later
that the second candidate quit. That was Scott Walker who quit last night.
If this pace keeps up, if one Republican candidate quits every ten
days from here on out, everything will wrap up in a neat fashion because
that 10-day schedule would have the 16th Republican presidential candidate
dropping out on February 8th which would be the night before the New
Hampshire primary, at which point we would be down to just one Republican
candidate and everything would be settled. It`s not likely to go that
But this once every ten-day pace now at which Republicans at least
currently are dropping out of the race, the question of who is going to
have the resources to stay in for the long haul even if they all continue
to lose badly to Donald Trump, that is kind of the dominant thing to watch
right now in the Republican race.
And in the 24 hours since Scott Walker dropped out, the most
interesting thing on that issue that has emerged about him quitting the
race last night is that apparently, it was a total surprise to almost
everybody in Scott Walkerville when he quit. This is from the Hill today.
Look, Scott Walker`s wealthiest donors are still in shock after the
Wisconsin governor stunned all but a tiny circle with his decision to
terminate his campaign. As recently as Thursday, Scott Walker had assured
his donors that the campaign was in it for the long haul, they had a
strategy to win. Their campaign team was solid. On Sunday, the day before
he dropped out, his top donors were still busy making calls to try to get
people to come to the next round of Walker fund-raisers.
Even his top donors and his top fund-raisers had no idea he was
getting out. The next day, boom, Scott Walker was out with no warning.
One donor who just gave $200,000 to his super PAC told reporters today
he learned the news that Scott Walker was quitting from a reporter. Quote,
“I had just got out of a meeting and got a call from a reporter telling me
about it. All of a sudden, calls started pouring in. I would say it was
Another donor whose family donated $5 million to Scott Walker`s super
PAC apparently also felt blindsided. According to a Scott Walker advisor,
that donor was in the middle of organizing a huge bundler event for Scott
Walker in just a couple of weeks.
Another donor said he had just left a voice mail message for Scott
Walker on Friday with advice how to improve his campaign. That message
from that donor went unreturned. Quote, “It`s the first time he hasn`t
called me back.”
Another big-time Scott Walker donor who had recently hosted a
reception for Governor Walker at this house says he felt similarly ignored.
Quote, “I did not get a heads-up about this decision. I felt like I had
gone to the wall for him. I was surprised that he didn`t consider me to be
within his inner circle to give me a heads up to trust me.”
Since the very beginning of the campaign, Scott Walker has done better
than almost anybody else in terms of attracting very large donations from
very, very rich donors. By the end of July, his super PAC had raised more
than $20 million. They thought they`d have $35 million or $40 million by
the end of this year. Right up until less than 24 hours before he dropped
out of the race, his super PAC was still raising money.
Having been shocked by his decision to drop out, the super PAC now
says they`re going to give their money back to the donors. So maybe that`s
good news for his donors. They`re getting their money back.
On the other hand, they also perhaps righteously seemed kind of mad
about the whole thing. I mean, Scott Walker now leaves behind a bunch of
money and a bunch of people who wanted to keep spending money on him but
who now feel like when they picked him, they chose to throw good money
after bad. And they are angry at the way the whole thing ended up.
So what happens to all those folks and their fat wallets? Are those
Republican donors going to give their money to anybody else or did Scott
Walker just alienate his donors from the process? That`s one interesting
question. What happens to Scott Walker`s many billionaires?
In terms of his actual campaign staff, a few staffers have already
recommitted to other campaigns. But, honestly, none of these moves are
likely to be all that consequential. The highest ranking Scott Walker
staffer who has gone to some other campaign so far, as far as we can tell,
is one of Scott Walker`s campaign co-chairs in New Hampshire who went to
Sort of sounds like a Marco Rubio coup until you realize that Scott
Walker is currently polling at 1 percent in New Hampshire. So, the guy who
is the co-chair of that 1 percent effort probably isn`t going to make much
of a difference to anybody else`s campaign.
There is one place though that might have the biggest ripples in terms
of Scott Walker getting out of the race and that is Iowa. Iowa was where
Scott Walker was concentrating most of his efforts. That said, he was down
to just 5 percent among Republicans in the state of Iowa by the time he
dropped of the race.
But before he started failing in Iowa and everywhere, Scott Walker had
been a front-runner in Iowa for a really long time, a long enough time that
it leaves a mark.
For example, if you look at the Iowa state Senate, fully 1/3 of the
Republicans in the Iowa state Senate are signed on officially as Scott
Walker supporters. I mean, Scott Walker planned on winning Iowa. His
campaign got in there early. They sent a bunch of staff there. They grew
their organizing effort there. This long list of members of the Iowa
political establishment signed up with Scott Walker while he was still
looking strong there.
What happens to them now? I mean, amid interesting questions about
what happens to Scott Walker`s billionaires and his high faluting staff and
his high dollar campaign manager and all his strategists and everything,
maybe the most pressing question is about Iowa. Is that the one crucial
place in the country where the political death of Scott Walker might have
real consequences and soon?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: So, it`s Iowa or bust for you?
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), IOWA: Well, I think we`re putting all our eggs
in the basket of Iowa. We`re committed to Iowa and we think that this will
help us make the case all throughout the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Scott Walker said he was putting all his eggs in a basket of
Iowa. That was a week ago, less than a week ago. And then last night he
quit, quit the race all together.
Joining us now to talk about whether him quitting changes the race in
Iowa is Kathie Obradovich. She`s a political columnist for “Des Moines
Register”, which is the Iowa paper that also held an editorial board
meeting with Hillary Clinton today.
Kathie, it`s great to see you. Thanks for being here.
KATHIE OBRADOVICH, DES MOINES REGISTRE POLITICAL COLUMNIST: Thanks
for having me, Rachel.
MADDOW: So, Scott Walker did put all of his eggs in the basket of
Iowa. That meant that much of his staff was working there, that means that
many of his efforts were focused there. Does him leaving leave a hole in
Iowa, leave space that other candidates are going to move into more than
would be true in the rest of the country?
OBRADOVICH: Well, he did have a little bit more support in Iowa than
he did in the rest of the country, as you said. The last poll showed his
support around 5 percent. That was good enough to be – you know, not at
the very bottom of the pack, maybe the lower middle of the pack. But I
think that that only has an impact if all if his supporters gang up
together and say, OK, we`re all going to one candidate.
If, as I think will happen, and where it was seen already I think
happening, is if they splinter to everyone, if – you know, some go to
Rubio and some go to Bush, some go to Ted Cruz and maybe some go to Ben
Carson or Carly Fiorina. It`s going to have a very – it`s going to
diffuse and there`s not going to be actually much that you can actually
say, OK, all these people went with one candidate.
MADDOW: You know, what caught my eye today, looking at sort of the
impact of him leaving, that specifically in Iowa, at least it`s been
reported that a third of the Republicans in the state Senate in Iowa were
signed on as Scott Walker supporters. So, even though he maybe had 5
percent support across the state and it`s only going to have a diffuse
effect, it seems like he did lock up a pretty good chunk of the Iowa
Republican establishment, didn`t he?
OBRADOVICH: I have to say, though, I think a legislator`s vote most
of the time, legislatures endorsement most of the time gets you exactly one
vote. Most legislators are not actually out there working for the
candidate. Some are. Some are.
But most are adding their name to a list. And it doesn`t really mean
a lot. And it probably won`t mean a lot when they add their name to the
list of the next guy in line. There are a few out there I think who will
work for the candidate. And those will have an impact I think and may be
bringing some people with them. But it`s not the majority.
MADDOW: Kathie Obradovich from “The Des Moines Register” in Iowa,
it`s great to see you, Kathie. Thanks very much for being here. I really
OBRADOVICH: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: All right. We`ve got more ahead tonight. Please stay with
MADDOW: At this time tomorrow night, I will not be here in my regular
comfy seat here in New York City. I will instead be broadcasting the show
from Washington, D.C., currently in the grip of pope mania.
Tomorrow is going to be a really big day in D.C. It will be Pope
Francis` first day in the United States. He has a packed schedule. He`s
going to be welcomed in the morning by President Obama at the White House.
That`s an event about 11:00 a.m. tomorrow, in which the president is
expected to be joined by 15,000 invited guests.
Some conservatives have expressed outrage that some of those 15,000
people invited to the White House are themselves gay or lesbian or
transgender. We`ll see if Pope Francis cares particularly about that.
Honestly, it`s hard to imagine that the White House would have gone out of
their way to make sure to find 15,000 100 percent straight people to be
there, but conservatives are mad that they didn`t, I guess.
Pope Francis will then go on a people parade through the streets of
Washington, D.C. Thousands of people expected to line the streets of D.C.
to see him. The pope will take part in a prayer service late in the middle
of the day.
And then late in the afternoon tomorrow, he will canonize America`s
newest saint, during a ceremony at the National Shrine of the Immaculate
Conception, Father Junipero Serra, the missionary priest will be America`s
latest saint. Native American groups have protested that decision by the
pope. But that canonization is expected to be attended by 30,000 people.
That`s all on top just for tomorrow. The rest of the week into the
weekend will be similarly large and in some cases historically
unprecedented events by this pal visit.
But we will bring it all to you starting tomorrow including live
tomorrow night from Washington, D.C. Woo-hoo.
That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you then.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
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