The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 10/19/15
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: That is “ALL IN” for this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
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. Happy
Monday. Had a great weekend. Thanks for asking.
It snowed all day long yesterday when I was home in western
Massachusetts. It never snows this early. My six-month-old puppy has
never seen snow before. It terrified him – which was sad for him for a
second but mostly it was just adorable. It was really cute. So, I`m in a
I`m also in a great mood because I just found out that I`m getting my
first ever Hillary Clinton interview. Never, ever, ever have I had a
chance to interview Hillary Clinton. I`m about to. We`ll have more on
that in just a second.
I`m also in a great mood because today`s news required us to take a
trip to the archive drawer marked “Herman Cain”. Yes. You think our
presidential race is weird right now? It is weird right now. But it has
been weird before. And it was really weird in 2012 when for a considerable
period of time Herman Cain was the front-runner for the Republican
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HERMAN CAIN (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Want to ask me who
the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan, I`m going to say, you
know, I don`t know. Do you know?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: We have some amazing Republican candidates for president
this year but Herman Cain was truly amazing. And it was clear early on at
the end of the first Republican debate in 2012. So, it was August of 2011,
it was clear that early on that Herman Cain was going to be a different
kind of guy. At that first debate, all the Republican candidates were
invited to give their closing statements. And Mr. Cain used his closing
statement to quote what he described as some of his favorite poetry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAIN: A poet once said, life can be a challenge, life can seem
impossible, but it`s never easy when there`s so much on the line.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: A poet once – the poet Herman Cain was quoting there at
that first Republican debate in the 2012 race, the poet he was quoting was
the Pokemon movie. That poetry he was quoting was part of the theme song
to the Pokemon movie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAIN: Life can be a challenge.
POKEMON THEME SONG: Life can be a challenge
CAIN: Life can seem impossible.
POKEMON THEME SONG: Life can seem impossible
CAIN: But it`s never easy.
POKEMON THEME SONG: But it`s never easy
CAIN: When there`s so much on the line.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: On the line.
By October – that was August. By October, Herman Cain was actually
winning the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Starting
about this time of year in that race, starting mid-October and straight
through about mid-November for basically a whole month, Herman Cain was
either in the lead for the Republican presidential nomination or he was
trading the lead with Mitt Romney.
By November 18th, Herman Cain was so firmly ensconced as the front-
runner for the Republican nomination that he requested and got protection
from the United States Secret Service.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: Herman Cain has become the first
Republican candidate to receive Secret Service protection. It is early in
the process for a primary candidate to get a Secret Service detail. It`s
usually in response to an increase in verified threats. And in Florida
today, Cain talked about his new heavily armed traveling companions.
CAIN: We had private security for a while before we asked for Secret
Service protection. But we wanted to move to that next level because of my
ranking in the polls and the additional scrutiny that I have been getting.
WILLIAMS: Cain spoke in Orlando, and already just behind the camera
he was surrounded by Secret Service and local police.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: So that was November 18th, 2011. Herman Cain in that
presidential race, in the last presidential race, he was the first
candidate to get protection of the Secret Service that year.
Interestingly, though, within two weeks of the Secret Service
starting to protect him, Herman Cain quit the race. He was out in early
December. And while he was quitting, he again quoted the Pokemon movie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAIN: Let me leave you with this. And I believe these words came
from the Pokemon movie. The media pointed that out. I`m not sure who the
original author is. So don`t go writing an article about the poem.
But it says a lot about where I am, where I am with my wife and my
family, and where we are as a nation.
Life can be a challenge. Life can seem impossible. It`s never easy
when there`s so much on the line.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: So much on the –
Herman Cain two weeks after becoming the first Republican candidate
to get Secret Service protection in the 2012 race, that was him dropping
out of the race in early December.
Well, today, news not quite yet confirmed but reported by multiple
sources that not one but two Republican candidates for president this year
are about to get Secret Service protection, even earlier than Herman Cain
did the last time around. The Donald Trump campaign and the Ben Carson
campaign today both indicated and the Homeland Security Department later
confirmed today that they`ve been asked, those two campaigns have requested
Secret Service protection for each of those candidates.
Now, just asking for Secret Service protection doesn`t mean you
automatically get it. But apparently what happens now is that the Homeland
Security secretary and a high-level congressional advisory committee which
includes the top leadership of both houses of Congress and both parties,
apparently they will now make that decision as to whether or not Donald
Trump and Herman Cain are going to get Secret Service protection.
And as remarkable as that seems, it is not unprecedented for
candidates like Trump and Carson to get this sort of thing. Everybody
remembers the decision to give Barack Obama very early Secret Service
protection in 2008. But other leading candidates have had it early in the
process as well, including Mr. 999, Mr. Pokemon theme song, including
And one of the ways that the Republican establishment has tried to
dismiss the profound weirdness of reality TV show star Donald Trump being
their party`s front-runner for the Republican nomination, is by talking
about candidates like 2012 – like 2012 one-time front-runner Herman Cain,
by talking about that 2012 race and remembering all the people who cycled
through the lead.
Basically, one of the ways that Republicans have tried to dismiss how
weird it is that Donald Trump is their front-runner is by saying listen,
four years ago, all sorts of people we barely remember were leading the
race at one time or another. And it is true. I mean, this time four years
ago, it was Herman Cain in the lead. And he held that led for about a
month in national polls.
Before Herman Cain, it had been Rick Perry who held the lead for
about 5 1/2 weeks in national polls. He held the lead from mid-August to
the end of September.
After Rick Perry and after Herman Cain, it was Newt Gingrich who held
the lead in the Republican race that year from mid-November to mid-
December, and then Newt Gingrich had another flurry at the top of the polls
In February, there was one blissful period of about two weeks when
Rick Santorum was in the lead, when he was winning the Republican
nomination for president.
It`s true. Those oddball and also-ran candidates, they did trade the
lead like a hot potato during the 2012 race, before the party ultimately
settled on their eventual establishment nominee, Mitt Romney.
But that sort of trading the lead among a bunch of different people,
that is not what`s happening this year in the Republican Party. Donald
Trump is not Herman Cain. Donald Trump is not Rick Santorum. I mean, this
year Donald Trump has held the lead for the Republican nomination longer
than all of those 2012 candidates I just mentioned combined. Donald Trump
has held the lead in every national poll, every single one, dating back to
almost the 4th of July, more than 30 straight national polls over a period
of more than three months have Donald Trump holding the lead.
Donald Trump has, quote, “sustained a lead for longer than there are
days left before voting begins in Iowa.” That quote from MSNBC contributor
Steve Schmidt, who, of course, ran the John McCain-Sarah Palin campaign in
2008. Steve is quoted making this observation in a new front-page freak
out in the conservative “National Review” magazine that`s titled, quote,
“The establishment thinks the unthinkable: Donald Trump could win the
This is the lead of that piece. This is amazing. “It started as
whispers in hushed corners. Could it ever happen? And now, just three
months from the Iowa caucuses, members of the Republican establishment are
starting to give voice to an increasingly common belief that Donald Trump,
once dismissed as a joke, a carnival barker, and a circus freak, might very
well win the Republican nomination.”
Quote, “Long-time GOP strategists who were expecting Trump`s act to
wear thin a couple of months ago now worry that he cannot be stopped, or at
least that he has a significant chance of winning the nomination.” This is
a conservative magazine, and they`re quoting establishment Republican
It`s the same theme today at “McClatchy News Service”. “Trump still
up with just over 100 days to go till Iowa.” The subtitles on this one
are: “Donald Trump is better organized than you think”, and “The battle for
establishment votes,” presumably non-Donald Trump votes, the battle for
establishment votes in Iowa is, quote, “a mess.”
I mean, whether you think it`s a good idea or bad idea that the
Republican Party might pick Donald Trump to be their presidential nominee,
the Republican establishment both in Iowa and nationwide in general is
turning. They are now starting to believe that the Republican Party is
going to pick Donald Trump to be their presidential nominee.
In the latest national poll on the Republican race is out just
tonight from NBC and “The Wall Street Journal”. It confirms the theme
Donald Trump still solidly in the lead with 25 percent of the vote. The
only person close to him is Ben Carson with 22 percent of the vote. Then,
the next closest contender is Marco Rubio down in third place with 13
Jeb Bush in tonight`s NBC/”Wall Street Journal” poll continues to
languish in the single digits, which is mostly where he is confined now in
national polling and in the early states. This new NBC/”Wall Street
Journal” poll out tonight has Jeb Bush in sixth place with only 8 percent
of the vote nationwide.
Jeb Bush is currently spending all his time talking about his
brother`s decision to invade Iraq, and why his brother didn`t respond to
the bin Laden determined to strike in the United States memo that came out
before the 9/11 attacks.
Whether or not you want Jeb Bush to do well in his presidential
campaign, if those are the things Jeb Bush is talking about right now, you
can be sure he is not doing well in his presidential campaign. Those are
not the sorts of things a Jeb Bush candidacy wants to dwell on.
But Donald Trump has driven Jeb Bush absolutely to distraction by
criticizing George W. Bush`s time as president. It`s making the Republican
establishment crazy but Donald Trump is clearly enjoying it and he has
doubled down and tripled down on it since he started that line of attack on
Friday simply by pointing out that George W. Bush was the president when
9/11 happened, so when Jeb Bush says he kept us safe, he must not mean
So, the top of the Republican field is not just clear at this point.
It`s static. It`s just Donald Trump and Ben Carson, and it has been for
quite some time now. This is not 2012. This is a whole different thing.
And these guys are winning.
Here`s something to watch, though, at the bottom of the Republican
field. The next Republican debate is next week, right? Next Wednesday.
This is the debate that`s going to be hosted by CNBC. There`s been all of
these kerfuffles about the format and how long it`s going to be, blah,
The CNBC debate is going to be in Boulder, Colorado. In order to
qualify to make it into that debate, the Republican candidates have to have
a polling average of 2 1/2 percent in an average of these national polls,
ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CNN, and Bloomberg. And those polls have to be
published between these dates, between September 17th and October 21st.
Well, the new NBC poll that came out tonight is one of those polls,
one of those qualifying polls to get into the next debate. Here`s the
thing, though. We don`t know what polls are going to come out in the next
two days. But there really are only two more days. Only polls that come
out over the next two days from those major polling organizations will
factor into the qualifying process.
And right now, with two days left there are two big name major
candidates who really are on the cusp of not making it into the next
Republican debate, not making it onto the main debate stage. I mean, right
now, if you average the qualifying polls for the CNBC debate, including
tonight`s new poll from NBC/”Wall Street Journal,” both Chris Christie and
Rand Paul are at 2.86 percent remember, the cutoff is 2.5 percent.
And again, we don`t know how many polls are going to come out in the
next two days before the qualifying period ends. Any polls that come out
from those major organizations will be factored into this average. But if
Chris Christie and Rand Paul keep getting numbers like the numbers they got
today, they keep getting 1 percent or 2 percent in the polls, they are both
within a hair`s breadth of not making it onto the stage for the next
So, it`s one thing to watch, really, just for the next few days. For
national polls that come out tomorrow and Wednesday. If Rand Paul or Chris
Christie come in at 2 percent or 1 percent or worse in any polls that come
out tomorrow and Tuesday, bee-boo, bee-boo, that is an emergency for those
Somebody`s also apparently pulling the fire alarm in the bottom tier
of the Democratic race for president. Jim Webb`s campaign just announced
tonight that he`s going to be holding a press conference tomorrow. It`s
going to happen 1:00 Eastern at the National Press Club. And at this press
conference Jim Webb may announce that he is dropping out of the Democratic
race for president, perhaps in order to mount an independent run for
The headline, the subject line on the press release they e-mailed out
today was “Jim Webb to consider independent run.” I mean, in the
Democratic race, Jim Webb is not doing great overall. He`s at 1 percent in
two Democratic national polls that came out today, one from CNN and one
from Monmouth. One percent isn`t that bad this year.
(AUDIO GAP) 1 percent nationwide Jim Webb is beating both Lincoln
Chafee and Martin O`Malley, both of whom are polling at zero nationwide in
both of those two new polls.
One New Hampshire poll that came out on Friday had Jim Webb at 3
percent in New Hampshire. And that`s gangbusters for this year.
If Jim Webb were a Republican, 3 percent would put him ahead of
George Pataki, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Lindsey Graham,
and Rand Paul in that state.
Unluckily for him, Jim Webb is not running as a Republican. As of
today, he`s running as a Democrat. That may be over as of tomorrow. We`ll
see. Again, 1:00 at the National Press Club.
In New Hampshire, I should tell you that Bernie Sanders and Hillary
Clinton appear to now be trading the lead in that state. Secretary Clinton
was ahead of Bernie Sanders in that New Hampshire poll that was released on
But in a “Boston Herald”/Franklin Pierce poll that came out today,
Bernie Sanders is back in the lead in New Hampshire. Hillary Clinton
continues to maintain a commanding lead nationwide in every poll. But
Bernie Sanders has been ahead of her in almost every poll recently in New
That said, this is likely to be a very big week for former Secretary
of State Hillary Clinton. On Thursday of this week, she`s going to be –
honestly, she`s going to be on TV all day long and probably into the night
because Thursday`s the day she`s going to give her sworn testimony to the
super controversial Benghazi committee led by the House Republicans. That
committee has felt like it has been imploding over the last couple of
weeks, but they have got her for an indefinite period of testimony on
And that`s not closed-door testimony. That`s going to be on TV. So
that`s going to be a very big deal on Thursday.
Then, on Saturday, Hillary Clinton just announced that she`s going to
be speaking at the Jefferson Jackson dinner in Iowa. The Jefferson Jackson
dinner, a lot of states do this. It`s a big deal in Iowa in election
It`s particularly a big deal for Hillary Clinton historically
speaking because it was Barack Obama`s blockbuster speech at that same
dinner in 2007 that`s been repeatedly cited by the Iowa press as a turning
point and a breakthrough moment for his candidacy that year when he
famously went on to win Iowa.
So, Hillary Clinton`s campaign announced today that she`s going to be
speechifying at that Jefferson Jackson dinner Saturday night and she will
also be accompanied by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, who does
not generally do campaign events with her. Him being there with her means
they are pulling out all the stops.
So, Thursday, the Benghazi committee. Saturday, that big deal speech
in Iowa. And in between those two days, on Friday, she`s going to be here.
My first ever interview with former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham
Clinton is going to happen right here on this show on Friday.
And my puppy had his first snowfall. You know, it`s a pretty
exciting day all around here.
There`s lots more to come tonight. Please stay with us.
MADDOW: So, on Friday night, we had a bit of a cliff-hanger story
about one of the most controversial things being done anywhere in the
country in a red state by a Republican governor, started off as a
controversy in that state. It`s now starting to become a national
controversy. We had a cliff-hanger about what was going to happen there on
Friday night. Now, we have a surprising resolution to that story. Maybe.
That story`s next. Stay with us.
MADDOW: So now we know what they talked about behind those closed
doors. We reported on Friday that the Republican governor of Alabama met
in private last week with the Democratic congresswoman from Alabama, who he
had previously called impulsive and ill-informed.
Republican Governor Robert Bentley put Alabama in the national news a
few weeks ago when he shut down the place where you get a driver`s license
in Alabama`s blackest counties. In Alabama, you now have to show ID at the
polls in order to vote. A valid driver`s license is the most common form
of ID after that law went into effect.
Then, recently, a few weeks ago in every single Alabama county where
at least 3/4 of the voters are African-American, Governor Robert Bentley
closed down the place where you get a driver`s license in that county. Of
the ten counties that went most strongly for Barack Obama in the last
election, the governor closed the DMV in eight of those ten counties.
And when Alabama Congresswoman Terri Sewell called for a federal
investigation, Governor Bentley lashed out and said that his decision had
nothing to do with voting rights. He said Congresswoman Sewell was
impulsive and ill-informed.
And that`s how we left it as of Friday night. But then it was about
to get worse for the Alabama governor because Democratic presidential
front-runner Hillary Clinton had a campaign swing through Alabama this
Even before she got to Alabama, Secretary Clinton had already said
Governor Bentley`s decision was a, quote, “blast from the Jim Crow past.”
Now, she was coming to town, coming to Alabama to deliver that message in
Well, here`s how Hillary Clinton spent her Saturday night in
Birmingham, Alabama. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is wrong. Fifty
years after Rosa Parks sat and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. marched and John
Lewis bled, it is hard to believe that we are back having this same debate
about whether or not every American gets a chance to vote and exercise his
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
This is a blast from the Jim Crow past. And, you know, we hear the
same excuses we`ve always heard to justify laws that disproportionately
affect people of color, or for that matter low-income people, women, young
Whenever I hear somebody trying to justify what is so clearly
unjustifiable, claiming that it has nothing to do with denying voting
rights, I`m reminded of an old saying that I heard for the first time when
I lived in Arkansas: “You find a turtle on a fence post, it didn`t get
there by accident.”
All of these obstacles to voting didn`t happen on their own. But for
every Republican governor working to roll back voting rights, there are
Americans determined to keep marching forward.
I`m proud of everyone in Alabama who leapt into action to confront
this misguided decision to close driver`s licenses offices. And you`ve got
people all over this nation who are rooting for you and standing with you.
And it`s time for your governor and the legislature not only to listen to
their constituents but listen to their conscience about what it means to be
a leader in our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Hillary Clinton speaking in Alabama, in Birmingham, Alabama,
this weekend. And with that kind of message on the way this weekend, with
that kind of message telegraphed ahead of time by a Hillary Clinton
campaign that was already making an issue of this voting rights situation,
the closing of these DMVs in black counties in Alabama, you could
understand why Alabama`s governor, Robert Bentley, would like to stop being
the guy who closed the DMVs in these majority African-American counties in
I mean, if Robert Bentley put that turtle on the fence post, he`s now
looking for a way to get that turtle down off the fence.
And so, late Friday night, after meeting privately with Congresswoman
Terri Sewell as we reported, and on the eve of Hillary Clinton arriving in
his state, Governor Robert Bentley did announce change. And that`s next.
MADDOW: In a story we have been following for weeks now and about
which we have had a ton of feedback from you guys, from our viewers,
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has now announced that he will unclose the
offices where you get driver`s licenses, where you get the most common form
of voter ID in Alabama. The governor announcing late Friday night that he
is reopening the DMVs in Alabama`s most heavily black counties.
But he is reopening them one day a month, which is pitiful. But it
is progress, I guess. Before this change announced late Friday night, all
those DMV offices were all going to be closed all the time. Now instead of
them all being closed all the time, they will all be hardly ever open.
Problem solved? So, Governor Bentley hopes.
We spoke to his office today. The governor`s office told us that for
the time being, as far as the governor is concerned, this settles the
Joining us is writer John Archibald of the “Birmingham News”. He`s
one of the first people to write about the closing of the DMVs in Alabama.
Mr. Archibald, I`ve been really looking forward to talking to you
about this. Thanks for being here.
JOHN ARCHIBALD, BIRMINGHAM NEWS COLUMNIST: Thank you. Appreciate
MADDOW: In terms of the governor`s announcement on Friday, is that
right, that these offices that were closed will all reopen but all of them
will only be open one day a month?
ARCHIBALD: Right. Baby steps I suppose.
You know, a lot of these offices, particularly in the Black Belt
region, were only opened one day a week anyway. It`s not quite as bad as
it sounds. It`s a little best a step and I`m sure he does hope it will go
away. That remains to be seen.
MADDOW: Do you think that government Bentley saw the backlash and
national attention coming on this? He does seem like he was surprised by
ARCHIBALD: I don`t think he saw it coming at all. I think – and I
don`t really think his intent – I`ve come to believe that his intent was
not to deny voter rights but it is a consequence nonetheless. And the fact
that he did not see it coming is really sort of a problem I think of not
really understanding where you are both geographically and historically.
And as was said already, this is the cradle of the voting rights movement
in many ways, and many of the offices that had been shuttered are, you
know, really in the shadow of Selma.
So, I mean, I think not understanding that is a statement in and of
MADDOW: Looking at this from the outside, one of the things that`s
obvious to see from the outside but its consequences aren`t obvious is the
unilateral political control in Alabama by the Republican Party.
Especially when a governor seems to make a decision and then gets
criticized for the decision and then tries to walk it back but there`s
friction about how to walk it back or whether to.
You expect that to be interparty fighting but in this case, it`s all
Republicans fighting amongst themselves. Are they particularly divided as
a party right now? Is this the way they always are?
ARCHIBALD: They are much more divided than they`ve been ever before.
The governor has not had a good few months, particularly within his own
party. And there are many who have been resentful of his attempt to raise
taxes in the first place, which would have allowed basic services to
continue to function and would have – none of this would have happened had
we been able to do that. But because of that rift, they don`t see eye to
eye and in many ways, that`s why we`re in this situation.
MADDOW: On this specific issue of the DMV offices and people`s
ability to get voter IDs, do you think this matter is sort of done evolving
as a policy issue? Do you think there will be additional changes? Will
there still be pressure?
ARCHIBALD: I think there will still be pressure, yes. And I think
it goes back to that fact that it`s a general lack of understanding, not
necessarily a “we want to stop you to vote” but a lack of understanding
about what we had in one of the poorest regions of the nation. And I think
that that – you know, once that sort of thing gets rolling, it is hard to
MADDOW: John Archibald, columnist for the “Birmingham News” – thank
you for your reporting on this and thank you for writing about it in a way
that when that national spotlight turned to Alabama, your clarity on this
issue I think helped a lot of people understand not just what was happening
but why it was so important. So, thanks for being so good at what you do.
Thanks for being here tonight.
ARCHIBALD: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. We`ve got much more to come tonight, including
a best new thing in the world.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: At roughly 9:05 p.m. on Saturday night, a 3-year-old boy on
Chicago`s West Side was shot and killed in his home, 3 years old. He was
shot in the head with a .32-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver. The shooter
was the boy`s 6-year-old brother.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TV ANCHOR: New information about a 3-year-old boy who was shot and
killed on the city`s northwest side. We have just learned who may have
pulled the trigger.
TV ANCHOR: Heartbreaking story and a tragedy in so many ways for the
family involved here. NBC 5`s Regina Waldroup live at Mount Sinai with
this new information – Regina.
REGINA WALDROUP, NBC 5: Good morning, ladies.
We just learned details, new details a short time ago that police
have made an arrest in this case. They say Michael Santiago is charged
with felony child endangerment for the death of that 3-year-old boy who
died a short time after he was brought here to Mount Sinai hospital.
Police say Michael Santiago had stored a loaded gun on top of the
refrigerator with access to his young children. They say Santiago`s 6-
year-old son somehow got a hold of that gun and shot his little brother in
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Father of these two boys, both the boy who was killed and
the boy who was the shooter, the dad has now been charged with felony child
endangerment. He had reportedly purchased the handgun on the street in
Chicago. He kept gun stowed on top of the family`s fridge loaded and
wrapped up in a pair of pajama pants.
He had reportedly showed his 6-year-old son where the gun was, which
is how the boy knew how to find it during a game of cops and robbers.
In addition to losing his 3-year-old son, the boy`s father now faces
up to ten years in prison if he`s convicted.
Yesterday, the judge lowered his bail from a million dollars to
$75,000. The judge told the courtroom, quote, “This is the ultimate
tragedy. I`m sure the defendant didn`t intend for it to happen but it
happened. And it`s what happens when people who shouldn`t have guns have
The Chicago story is the latest in a series of almost unbelievably
terrible shootings involving children this year. This summer, another
toddler in Washington, D.C. was accidentally shot and killed by her 7-year-
old brother during a game.
Earlier this month, an 11-year-old was charged with first-degree
murder in the shooting death of his 8-year-old neighbor, capital murder
charge. “The Washington Post” reporting that this year alone, there have
been 43 instances in the United States in which a toddler, a 1-year-old, 2-
year-old, or 3-year-old has found a gun and then used it to injure or kill
either themselves or someone else, the toddler as the shooter.
The NRA, of course, likes to say the only thing that can stop gun
violence is more guns. It`s a good guy with a gun. It is very hard to see
how that prescription would solve the problem of toddlers, 3-year-olds as
shooters. But I`m sure the NRA would find a way to make more guns the
solution here, too.
The Gallup organization made waves a couple of weeks ago when they
said they`re going to stay out of horse race polling for the presidential
race this year. At the same time, Gallup said while they`re not going to
do that kind of polling, they are going to continue to do polling on issues
And today, Gallup released a new poll on guns specifically. This was
the top-line result. American Americans` desire for stricter gun laws up
sharply. This new poll finds that since last year, the percentage of
Americans who are in favor of stricter gun laws has risen eight points.
Fifty-five percent of Americans now say they want stricter gun laws.
Fifty-five percent want stricter gun laws, and the proportion of Americans
who want less strict gun laws is only 11 percent. And that number is
dropping. It was 13 percent a year ago.
The last time support for stricter gun laws was above 50 percent was
in 2013, right after the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
Despite all that support then, of course, Congress wasn`t able to pass any
new federal gun restrictions.
Some states did begin to take it on at that time. After the Sandy
Hook Elementary School massacre, Connecticut and the state of New York both
passed laws banning some large-capacity ammunition magazines and banning
some kinds of semi-automatic assault rifles, including the type of gun that
was used at Sandy Hook.
Gun rights groups of course challenged those laws in court. But
today, a U.S. appeals court just one level below the Supreme Court, the
second circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, today upheld the New York and
Connecticut post-Sandy Hook gun laws. Gun groups are furious. They say
they`re going to take this all the way to the Supreme Court. But for now
at least, with this appeals court ruling, it`s a win for Governor Dan
Malloy and Governor Andrew Cuomo, and for the very idea that any gun
reforms can ever be passed in this country even in the wake of something as
shocking and terrifying as Sandy Hook.
Now, that idea`s about to get another huge test from the other side
of the country, from a state that has decided to go super aggressive on
this issue because they think they may have finally figured out a way to
get around the NRA, to circumvent the NRA, and thereby get some real reform
into law even though it will undoubtedly drive the NRA nuts.
It`s a new strategy. It`s a super aggressive one. If it works, it
will set a new gold standard for the rest of the country on this issue.
And that story is the subject of “The Interview,” which is next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS ROCK, COMEDIAN: You don`t need no gun control. You know what
you need? We need some bullet control. We need to make – we need to
control the bullets. That`s right. I think all bullets should cost
$5,000, $5,000 for a bullet. You know why? Because if a bullet costs
$5,000, there would be no more innocent bystanders.
(LAUGHTER & CHEERS)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The great Chris Rock with his $5,000 bullet solution to gun
violence. And no one has yet run for statewide office on that platform.
But the only nationally known lieutenant governor in the country, the
former mayor of San Francisco, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom,
is running to succeed Jerry Brown as governor of California in 2018. And
he has just proposed that California become the first state in the country
to require a background check if you want to buy ammunition.
I mean, right now, of course, there is, of course, the loophole-
ridden law that says you need a background check to buy a gun. But there
isn`t one that says you need a background check to buy the bullets that the
Could California be the first to change that?
The answer may be in how Gavin Newsom wants to try to approach
passing this new law, which is that he wants it to be on the ballot
directly. He wants to basically bypass the legislature and instead have
California voters decide on the ammunition background checks issue and a
raft of other gun reforms directly, by direct democracy, by a vote next
When the public wants gun reforms and the NRA stops them at almost
every legislature across the country and, of course, in Congress, is a
direct vote by the people the only way to get reforms passed? Has Gavin
Newsom figured it out?
Joining us now for “The Interview” is Gavin Newsom, lieutenant
governor of California and a Democratic candidate for governor in 2018.
It`s nice to see you.
GAVIN NEWSOM (D), LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA: Great to be
here. Thank you.
MADDOW: Is it bad for me to say you`re the only nationally
recognizable lieutenant governor in the country? Is that a good thing or a
bad thing to hear?
NEWSOM: I know. We were talking. We are the butt of our own jokes.
Lieutenant governors. What do they do exactly, we ask?
MADDOW: Well, you`re making noise with this. And I don`t think it`s
just about your candidacy for governor a few years down the road. What
would your law do if it passes?
NEWSOM: No, you made the point. We have direct democracy in
California. Sometimes it runs amok, but sometimes it`s empowering. Right
now, we know the NRA, their home court is legislative bodies. Certainly in
Congress but legislative branches even in Democratic states like
There are a series of things we`ve tried to do legislatively that
have either been watered down or rejected because of intimidation and the
tactics the NRA are specialists at.
The opportunity now is to go direct to the voters, that
overwhelmingly support common sense backgrounds and empower the voters.
They won`t be intimidated as politicians are intimidated by the NRA.
That`s what we`re counting on next year.
MADDOW: This won`t be an easy fight. As you say, California has
direct democracy, which sometimes has insane results.
MADDOW: But it does mean we know what the process looks like. You
have to get hundreds of thousands of signatures. You`ve got to raise
millions of dollars. It`s hard to do on even anodyne issues.
MADDOW: In case, you`re going to have the NRA and every gun activist
group in the country against you.
MADDOW: Why do you think it will work?
NEWSOM: Well, because it`s the right thing to do, and because people
support overwhelmingly background checks. It makes no sense, does it? You
have background checks on guns.
And California actually has a very comprehensive background check
system that`s been in place close to a quarter of a century, but not on
ammunition. The most deadly part of a gun is the ammunition. And the
reality is you can buy ammunition at the Laundromat. You can buy it at the
grocery store. There`s no licensing requirements.
So, all we`ll do is submit the ammunition to the same background
check that currently exists for guns. We think it`s common sense.
Of course, the NRA thinks it`s confiscatory. They think it`s an
assault on the Second Amendment. That`s nonsense. I think the voters are
going to subscribe to our point of view and no longer their point of view.
MADDOW: One of the things that I feel like is interesting as a
matter of political science but also just as a person who I feel very
deeply affected by the continuing problem with mass gun violence in this
country, you know, I`m a journalist but I`m also a citizen who – it`s very
upsetting the way that we can`t do anything about it.
But because we can`t do anything about it, we have very little data
about what works because there are very few states that have been able to
get stuff done, so we can see whether or not it has an impact on gun
violence down the road. How did you decide what to put on this list?
NEWSOM: First of all, you know, nothing offended me more than a
presidential candidate, Jeb Bush, who said, well, stuff happens.
So, this whole idea we can`t do anything, I reject that completely.
We have agency. We`re not bystanders. We can manifest the future. We`ve
got to step up and step in.
So, I`m not going to play the defeatist frame any longer. I`m
frustrated with everybody else. But I`m not going to sit back and send out
a press release with some pabulum with condolences to family members.
That`s not good enough.
So, we`ve got to do something. What you just teased before we sat
down was so remarkable, so extraordinary. Think about this. A year and a
half ago, I read that more preschoolers were gunned down than police
officers in the line of duty. The numbers you just bore out were even more
devastating than that. Enough.
And so we can do something about it. People have the ability to step
in in a big way. We`ve got to give them the tools to do that and empower
them by going directly to voters. I`m confident we`ll do that.
The message is clear. Submit the same requirements we do for guns
for ammunition. Lost and stolen guns should be reported. Magazines of 11
bullets or more should no longer be in individuals` possession. Coordinate
and collaborate more effectively with the federal data bases and deal with
relinquishment of guns that are already in the hands of people that are
There`s tens of thousands of guns in California right now that are
legally in the hands of convicted felons, and we have no relinquishment
procedure. And we want to establish that.
So, five key provisions, and we put them on the ballot in November
2016. The voters I believe will step up and step in in a big way.
Hopefully, that will be resonant and we`ll see a dozen plus similar states
begin to do this same things and we will turn this around where we no
longer feel powerless, but we feel empowered and we have the ability, I
think, with the example to enliven people`s senses in other states where
they can say, you know, we can take these guys on, we can win. We don`t
have to be victims in this debate any longer.
MADDOW: If you can get it done, it will become a new national gold
standard, not only in terms of those policies being the benchmark but also
a way to try to do it to get around what we all know is the greatest
bulwark to these kinds of remarks.
Gavin Newsom, lieutenant governor of California, Democratic candidate
for governor of California in 2018, it`s great to have you here, Gavin.
Thank you. Good to see you.
NEWSOM: Great to be here. Thank you, Rachel.
All right. One point, before we go to commercial break. Not too
toot my own horn but I never get to toot this particular horn. I said it
once before already tonight but I will say it again, this show, this
Friday, my first interview with Hillary Clinton. Very excited about it.
There`s certainly a lot to talk about.
Hillary Clinton here on this show this Friday. You don`t want to
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: Breaking news to report on the Canadian national elections.
The Canadian Broadcaster Corporation is projecting the liberal party will
win tonight`s elections in Canada. If that prediction is borne out, that
means that the liberal party will have officially unseated Canada`s three-
term conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who`s been in office as
Canada`s prime minister for nearly a decade.
Polls in Canada are now closed throughout most of the country. They
do still remain open in the western part of the country. According to the
CBC, though, the liberal party has already won 30 seats. They are sweeping
elections in the eastern part of the country.
A hundred seventy seats total are needed to form a majority
government. But again tonight, based on what`s happened so far, the CBC is
projecting a liberal party win tonight in the Canadian elections. If that
is borne out, then the new prime minister of Canada will be the son of
former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. It will be Justin Trudeau of the
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Best new thing in the world – you are going to love this
one and you have not seen it anywhere else. This is amazing.
All right. Last month, you might remember I sort of awkwardly fell
in love with Craigslist in Des Moines, Iowa.
I mean, right now on Craigslist in Des Moines, Iowa, you can find a
family of baby bunnies, for sale, you get two boys and two girls. You
think of it as a starter kit.
Also, a set of real armor complete with sword just in time for
Halloween, or October 20th, or whatever.
Also, you can get this camouflaged recliner for when you want to take
a nap but you want to take a nap in secret.
I have fallen in love with Craigslist in Des Moines, Iowa. It`s
better than any other Craigslist.
But it all started with this beauty. With this big blue Donald Trump
for president bus for sale on Craigslist in Des Moines, Iowa. Underneath
the big Trump wrapping is a 17-year-old Greyhound bus with literally a
million miles on it. Plus, the big Donald Trump logo.
And it went for sale, went up for sale on Craigslist Des Moines and
somebody bought it and now we know about its new home.
This is almost too good to be true, but it`s true. The bus was
bought by an artist. An artist who goes by the name T. Rutt.
And T. Rutt and a team of fellow artists plan on turning this thing
into a rolling installation, kind of. They`re painting over the Trump name
and replacing it on one side with T. Rutt, the name of the artist, and on
the other side, they turned it into T. Rump. They just put a period
between the T and R in Trump.
They are also replacing “Make America Great Again” with a few
different slogans, “Women Trump Trump”, and also, “make fruit punch great
Let`s just say they`re not great fans of Donald Trump or particularly
that thing he said about FOX News host Megyn Kelly after the first debate.
Specifically, the fruit punch thing, this is how one of the artists
helping with this project explained it to “The Des Moines Register”.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody – if they want, they have a little
shot glass full of fruit punch. Tag line is make fruit punch again rather
than make America great again. And the idea is that just the kind of
finally have a little moment of expression about this political
bewilderment seems to be playing out in the country is just throw some red
fruit punch on these letters and it will slowly start to stain them into
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: So, T. Rutt and his merry band, they plan to drive the
former Trump bus, now the T. Rump/T. Rutt bus, they plan to drive it to
Iowa where Trump`s campaign left it, to the Art Basel show in Miami in
December. Every night, they say they plan to stand on top of the bus and
drive a Trump-branded golf ball into the sunset.
T. Rutt`s golf ball smashing, fruit punch splashing, tough guy
feminist, cross-country prankster art road trip in a converted Donald Trump
campaign bus that they bought on Craigslist in Des Moines obviously today`s
best new thing in the world by a million miles.
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.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>