The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 10/21/15
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: You`re keeping me a little nervous. I got
to say. Not to like hype the stakes or anything here. But –
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: We`ll keep the expectations low. Just –
I think it will probably be the greatest interview in the history of
MADDOW: And if it isn`t –
MADDOW: Yes, I know, I know. Thanks, man.
Thanks to you at home for joining us today on what turned out to be a
very big news day.
Vice President Joe Biden will not succeed Barack Obama as president of
the United States. Vice President Dick Cheney did not succeed George W.
Bush as president of the United States. Vice President Al Gore did not
succeed Bill Clinton as president of the United States.
The last time a vice president did succeed the president, who he
served alongside in the White House, was George H.W. Bush, who won one term
as president to succeed Ronald Reagan in 1988.
Before that, it was Gerald Ford, who never actually ran for vice
president, but was appointed vice president after the previous vice
president had to quit in a scandal. Gerald Ford then ascended to the
presidency itself in 1974 after Richard Nixon`s resignation, but Gerald
Ford is a very special case. He was never elected to either the number one
job or the number two job in his own right. He just sort of stumbled into
Being vice president in theory, it seems like the best possible warm-
up to becoming president yourself, right? It almost feels like an
understudy job in a way, but it almost never works out that way anymore
that the vice president next becomes the president of the United States.
It doesn`t work out that way generally speaking anymore and it hasn`t for a
And when Barack Obama chose then 67-year-old Senator Joe Biden to be
his vice presidential running mate in 2008, it isn`t talked a lot about
now, but it was all but implicitly understood at the time that Joe Biden
probably would not be a contender to succeed President Obama as president
himself down the line.
There`s nothing particularly personal about Joe Biden. It said
nothing about whether or not Joe Biden would be a good choice for vice
president back in 2008. It was the same kind of choice we understood
George W. Bush to have made when he picked Dick Cheney to be his running
mate eight years prior.
Remember the “four more years” chants about Dick Cheney running in
2008? Yes, those for more years chants for Dick Cheney, those were
sarcastic, or at least ironic, or at least they were attended to be
purposely shocking. Nobody expected that Dick Cheney would run to succeed
George W. Bush, and he didn`t.
The unique thing about our current president deciding today not to run
is not that there`s some amazing novelty of a vice president foregoing the
opportunity to go next in line for the presidency in his own party. That
happens. It happens to a lot of vice president. It`s not terribly unique
that Vice President Biden would have been an older candidate for president.
Ronald Reagan was 69 years old, and Joe Biden is fit as a fiddle and only
three years older than that.
Neither of these things make today`s decision unique. What makes
today`s decision unique is that it`s about this vice president choosing not
to run. What is unique about this decision today is specific to Joe Biden
himself, and it`s that Joe Biden, more than any other major national
political figure is so universally well-liked. You may or may not have
voted for him and Barack Obama when they ran. You may or may not agree
with Vice President Biden on the issues.
But no one of his political stature has built up more of a store of
legitimate human emotional goodwill with political enemies and friends
alike. Nobody has that kind of reservoir of goodwill. Nobody has anything
like that, compared to Joe Biden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If you can`t admire Joe
Biden as a person, then you probably have a problem. You need to do some
self-evaluation, because what`s not to like?
Here`s what I can tell you, that life can change just like that.
Don`t take it for granted. Don`t take relationships for granted. I called
him after Beau died, and he basically said, well, Beau was my soul.
We talked for a long time, he came to my ceremony, and said some of
the most incredibly heartfelt things that anybody could ever say to me, and
he`s the nicest person I think I`ve ever met in politics.
REPORTER: Is that right?
GRAHAM: He is as good a man as God ever created.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: South Carolina senator and Republican presidential candidate
Lindsey Graham tearing up while describing his respect and affection for
his friend Joe Biden, which persists alongside all of their very active
When “Time” wanted to profile vice president Biden as one of the most
influential people in the world, the profile of him written for that
magazine was written by Eric Cantor, the Republican House majority leader
at the time.
He wrote, “Too often in Washington, opposing sides don`t speak to one
another. The best way to find solution and common ground is to build
personal relationships based on trust. No one in Washington understands
this better than Joe Biden. His list of accomplishments is impressive, but
most impressive to me is his ability to build bridges and bring people
together. He does that by treating people with kindness and respect, and
speaking with honesty and candor.”
This was in 2013, at a time of just abject partisan warfare, and one
of the biggest warriors in that fight, the number two Republican in
Congress at the time was still able to write about the Democratic vice
president to praise his decency and his honesty, and to call him his
This year, when Vice President Biden was considering running for
president, the abjectly fiercely partisan top Republican in the United
States Senate said he wouldn`t weigh in on whether or not Mr. Biden should
make a run for the presidency, but he too called him his friend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: I`m not somebody would
be seeks his advice about whether to run for president. I do like Joe a
lot. I think he`s a good man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I think he`s a good man. You hear that a lot about Joe
What other Democrat in politics – not some conservative wannabe
Republican Democrat, but what true blue Democrat, who else in politics is a
Democrat would ever be talked about this way, particularly by Republicans?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Joe Biden and I have been friends for
38 years. We`ve shared some wonderful experiences together. We`ve
experienced combat, and we`ve experienced differences of views, and some of
those may be apparent in these conversations.
But our relationship has been characterized by affection, but most of
all, by respect. I respect this man as much as anyone who I`ve ever known,
because I don`t know anyone who is more dedicated to serving his country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Republican Senator John McCain saying he respects Vice
President Biden as much as anyone he`s ever known.
And that`s just the way Republicans talk about him. But I think that
matters today, in terms of understanding the impact of what Vice President
Biden announced himself today in the Rose Garden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Unfortunately, I
believe we`re out of time, the time necessary to mount a winning campaign
for the nomination. But while I will not be a candidate, I will not be
silent. I intend to speak out clearly and forcefully to influence as much
as I can where we stand as a party and where we need to go as a nation.
This is what I believe. I believe that President Obama has led this nation
from crisis to recovery, and we`re now on the cusp of resurgence. I`m
proud to have played a part in that.
This party, our nation, will be making a tragic mistake if we walk
away or attempt to undo the Obama legacy. The American people have worked
too hard, and we`ve come too far for that. Democrats should not only
defend this record and protect this record. They should run on the record.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Vice President Biden made this announcement today flanked by
his wife Dr. Jill Biden and by President Obama himself. And that
announcement ends a months-long process of feverish speculation. And the
vice president himself openly mulling whether or not he was going to run.
The speculation started in earnest on the first day of August when the “New
York Times” is fiercely anti-Clinton columnist Maureen Dowd published an
explosive column saying that Vice President was thinking about running.
Shortly thereafter, it became publicly known that he had asked liberal
firebrand Senator Elizabeth Warren to come to Washington and meet with him
at his house privately, to have a very long talk about politics. Not long
after that, the vice president started to open up a bit in public about the
fact that he really was thinking about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: I`ll be straightforward with you. The most relevant factor in
my decision is whether my family and I have the emotional energy to run.
Some might think that is not appropriate, but unless I can go to my party
and the American people and say that I am able to devote my whole heart and
my whole soul to this endeavor, it would not be appropriate.
And everybody talks about a lot of other factors – the other people
in the race, and whether I can raise the money, and whether I can put
together an organization. That`s not the factor. The factor is, can I do
it? Can my family undertake what is an arduous commitment that we would be
proud to undertake in order circumstances, but the honest to God answer is,
I just don`t know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Within a week of those very somber, serious remarks, Vice
President Biden was bounding through a campaign-style appearance on a Labor
Day rally in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He didn`t just look fired up and
energetic. It actually looked like he was running, if only because he was
for much of the day he was literally running through that whole event,
whole parade, jogging around, shaking every hand.
Vice President Biden spoke about the process he was going through
again on Stephen Colbert `news show on CBS. He talked to Stephen Colbert
about his grief over his son`s death and how that was competing in his
heart and in his emotions with his real desire to run.
Last week, it was a letter from his closest political confidant, his
former chief of staff, Ted Kaufman, telling Biden alumni the world over
that if the vice president did mount a run for the presidency, here`s what
it might look like.
There was constant news of the vice president reaching out by phones
to Democratic leaders in the early stays, to labor leaders around the
country, to prominent Democrats and activists, never committing that he was
going to run, but definitely talking it over.
As recently as yesterday, the vice president talked at a public event
in a way that convinced a lot of people who heard him speak that he
definitely was running. He certainly seemed like he was, on and off for
But today when he finally ended that long process, there was
inevitably talk about whether this long public process hurt somehow,
whether it was undermining to Hillary Clinton`s front-runner campaign,
whether it distracted from the project of the Democratic nominating
process, which is to pick a candidate who beats a Republican in November
and brings along as many down ticket Democrats as possible.
If it were anybody else in Democratic politics, anybody else just in
politics who had just gone through this arduous project, honestly there
might be some hard feelings. But this is Joe Biden, and nobody is capable
of having hard feelings about Joe Biden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
MCCONNELL: My daughter Ellie.
BIDEN: Ellie, how are you? So good to see you.
MCCONNELL: My daughter Porter.
BIDEN: Porter, how are you?
MCCONNELL: My son Tom.
BIDEN: Hey, Tom. How are you? Who is this guy?
HEY, Charlie, how you doing? How are you? Are you doing OK?
He said, `Grandpa, can I talk to a Democrat?”
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: This is my sister-in-law Lorraine
BIDEN: Hey, Lorraine. How are you?
DURBIN: Mother of ten.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m the mother of ten, that`s right.
BIDEN: My mother would say no purgatory for you dear, straight to
heaven, straight to heaven.
BIDEN: If you need somebody to negotiate a big prize for you, call
me, I`m your guy, OK?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He can do it.
BIDEN: I can help out, I can help out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a wily one here.
BIDEN: Oh, man! This is boring, boring, boring. Isn`t this boring?
How are you doing? Can I borrow your hat? Can I borrow your hat?
Good to see, you man. OK. Man, what a great family. C`mon. I like
kids better than people.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: The last big unknown is now known about the Democratic field
for the presidency after the presidency of Barack Obama, with his decision
by Vice President Biden today that we won`t run, we now know the contours
of the Democratic race. We know the size of the field.
But we really don`t know the full implications of this decision. We
don`t have anything to compare this to. And that`s because specifically
there`s nobody like Joe Biden in modern American politics. There`s nobody
else who`s almost universally personally liked and respected, even by
people who disagree with him strongly.
Somebody who spent 40 years, not just in public office, but in very
high level public office. And after that 40-year-plus career, the bottom
line about him, the same bottom line for his friends and his enemies, when
everybody thinks about him is that he`s a good man.
A, how do you do that in life in and in such a long successful
political career? And B, how does that pay back to you in the world on a
day like this, in what we know will be the apex of your career, a career
which you have earned over the lifetime the amount of personal goodwill and
affection that nobody else can brag about? The amount of personal goodwill
and affection, that accrues because of the way he as lived his life in
politics is unparalleled in our lifetimes. How does that go paid back to
him now that he`s made this decision?
Joining us now is Mike Castle, former governor of Delaware, former
congressman from Delaware. He`s a Republican who made a run for Joe
Biden`s Senate seat once Mr. Biden became vice president. Even though Mr.
Castle is a Republican, he`s a longtime friend and colleague of Vice
Governor, thank you so much for being with us tonight. Really
appreciate your time.
MIKE CASTLE, FORMER GOVERNOR OF DELAWARE: Thank you, Rachel. It`s a
pleasure to be with you.
MADDOW: As a longtime friend of the vice president, somebody`s known
him a very long time, are you disappointed that he`s not running?
CASTLE: Well, I`m disappointed for a couple reasons. One of which is
Delaware just obviously loves Joe Biden. He is a very popular figure.
He`s Joe at home, not vice president Biden. People no him and like him.
It was just exciting for a state of fewer than a million people to
have somebody who might have been running for president and truly running
this time, as opposed to the other tries where he never readily made up
much ground. And that`s disappointing.
But as a Republican, I like the idea that would you have Joe and
Hillary sort of going at each other, perhaps easing the way for her
Republican candidate to be able to move forward. I don`t know if it would
worked out that way or not, but that was another aspect to it all.
But I totally understand Joe`s decision, and he is a good friend. He
went through a tremendous loss with Beau. Of course he went through an
earlier loss with his first wife and daughter.
But the bottom line is that it`s very understandable. I think he`s
absolutely right when he talks about the emotional strain on the family.
He`s a wonderful family man, as well as a very engaging and interesting
person, and I believe that was more controlling than any thoughts about
whether he could win or not win. That probably entered into it, and
obviously getting off to a very late start, but I do believe it was the
emotional ties to his family that were more important to him than anything
else in politics today.
MADDOW: Governor, as home state colleagues from such a small state,
especially with political careers that overlapped for so many years, with
you in opposite parties, I imagine there must have been both things you had
to work together on, because you both agreed they were right for Delaware
and things you disagreed.
Over a long period of time, having had so much interaction with him, I
wondered, as a Republican, who liked – and you guys liked each other, did
you ever really fight? Did you ever really have it out over an issue in
which you disagreed?
CASTLE: No, we never had it out. We never spoke ill of each other,
that I know of, and certainly not publicly and I don`t think privately. I
think we always respected one another.
That`s beyond Joe and myself. I think that was true of Tom Carper,
who is in the Senate now, and other people who have been elected in
Delaware. We`re small, you know each other. You go to the same events.
You see each other.
On the weekend, you may bump into each other ten times or something of
that nature. You might be at a Delaware football game, or you might be at
a chicken festival, or whatever the heck it may be. And as a result, it`s
different than when you`re sort of lobbing grenades at each other from
television stations all over a big state.
Because of that personal knowledge, I think we have a sort of easier
politics, if you will, and we tend not to attack one another. We run
against each other, but we tend it to be more gentlemanly about it than
you`ll see in most states, I believe.
MADDOW: Yes. And I think that extrapolated to his national career in
a way we`re all appreciating now.
MADDOW: Mike Castle, former Republican governor and congressman from
Delaware, close friend of Vice President Biden – thank you so much for
being with us. Appreciate it.
CASTLE: Thank you, Rachel. My pleasure. Thank you very much.
MADDOW: All right. We still got lots ahead tonight, including some
breaking but slightly confusing news from D.C. about whether or not we have
a new speaker of the House. We`ll have that straight ahead.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: So I`ve known him a very long time.
I like him. We`ve always been friends. I didn`t stop liking him when
Hillary and him ran against each other in 2008, and if he runs again, I
won`t stop liking him then.
He`s a good man. He`s been in public service in the United States.
He was first elected when he was 29. He`s been in public ever since. I
think he`s a good man, and nothing will change that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: So, the breaking news at this hour last night was that
Congressman Paul Ryan said he would only serve as House speaker if the most
conservative caucus among House Republicans endorsed him. Well, that
caucus voted tonight and everybody is still trying to figure out what the
results were, or at least what they mean. It`s not at all clear, but in
its confusion, it`s fascinating. Details on that are next.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Not mathematically possible.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: It is mathematically possible, it`s
been done before. It`s precisely what we`re proposing.
BIDEN: It`s never been done before.
RYAN: It`s been done a couple times –
BIDEN: It has never –
RYAN: Jack Kennedy lowered tax rates, increase growth. Ronald Reagan
BIDEN: Oh, now, you`re Jack Kennedy?
RYAN: When we look weak, our adversaries are much more willing to
test us, the more brazen their attacks. And our allies are less willing to
BIDEN: With all due respect, that`s a bunch of malarkey.
MODERATOR: And why is that so?
BIDEN: Because not a single thing he said is accurate.
This is a bunch of stuff. Look, here`s the deal –
MODERATOR: What does that mean, a bunch of stuff?
BIDEN: Well, it means it`s simply accurate.
RYAN: It`s Irish.
BIDEN: It is. We Irish call it malarkey.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Vice presidential debates are always the most fun. Nothing
will ever beat Sarah Palin versus Joe Biden, remember, can I call you Joe?
He was like, sure, governor.
But Joe Biden versus Paul Ryan in the vice presidential debate in
2012, that was a high point, if only because Vice President Biden appeared
to think that Paul Ryan was hilarious for most of the debate.
In the last 24 hours, though, both of the debaters from that debate
have had fairly epic days in the news. Vice President Biden, of course,
announcing that he will give up on his presidential dreams forever. He
said today he will not enter the presidential race himself this year.
And his 2012 debate opponent, Congressman Paul Ryan, announced late
last night that he will throw his hat into the ring to try to become
speaker of the House, but he said he will only do it if Republicans agree
to a whole host of conditions that he`s laying as a price of him even
considering running for the job.
Paul Ryan is demanding unified support from the three caucuses in the
House that represent center right Republicans, right-wing Republicans and
super hard-line right wing Republicans. He wants all three of those
caucuses on board endorsing him by Friday of this week. And he says he
wants to be excused from the usual fund-raising responsibilities of being
speaker of the House so he can spend more times with his families and wants
a rules change to make it harder to fire him as speaker once he gets the
That last one has been a sticking point for the super hard-line right
wing caucus called the Freedom Caucus, who are already the most unlikely
group of Republicans to support him for speaker anyway.
Well, tonight, there`s news because members of that Freedom Caucus
Group tonight came out after a meeting with Congressman Ryan and think say
they do support him for speaker. That made everybody think that was the
biggest hurdle, now Paul Ryan is a shoo-in to be a speaker, it`s a done
But then, just moments later, the Freedom Caucus` cofounder came out
and said oh, wait, perhaps you misunderstand, when we said we support him
for speaker, we didn`t say we supported him in sufficient numbers that he
can actually get or endorsement as a caucus.
And Paul Ryan did say what he needs is their endorsement as a caucus,
as one of his conditions for even running. And, technically, he is not
going to get that endorsement.
So, now, nobody knows what happens next. They support him, but they
don`t him. He said he needs that are endorsement or if you – but they do
support him but they don`t – see how this works out? Yes, me neither.
Watch this space.
MADDOW: Four days ago, conservative pundit Bill Kristol tweeted that
a Democrat he trusted told him Vice President Joe Biden was, quote, “almost
certain to run for president and would announce in time to speak at Iowa`s
Jefferson Jackson dinner this coming Saturday.”
Then, yesterday, Bill Kristol tweeted that Joe Biden had confirmed to
President Obama at lunch that he was running. See, Bill Kristol was hiding
under the table at that lunch. He even had a specific time and place for
the announcement. It was going to be today at the University of Delaware.
Bill Kristol is kind of famous for making very bad, very confident
predictions, like victorious Vice President Sarah Palin, and President
Obama`s nominee for the United States Supreme Court? Jennifer Granholm?
And Rudy Giuliani is going to run for president in 2012, definitely, which
he definitely did not do.
Mr. Kristol may be a nice person, and I do not mean it as an insult,
he`s famous for being wrong out loud and in public. This time, though, he
had a lot of company on that limb.
Here`s the editor at large of “The National Post”, quote, “Biden
definitely running, good source.” “New York Magazine”, “Joe Biden is
running for president – fact that`s been obvious and true for weeks.” FOX
News, “Three sources close to the vice president telling me he`s expected
to announce he`s running.” Three sources. Even a Democratic congressman,
“I have a very good source close to Joe who tells me Vice President Biden
will run for president.”
That doesn`t even include the innumerable writers and pundits and
analyst who is said they heard or just knew that he was running or knew he
would make a decision by the end of September or by the end of September,
or by this weekend or in the next 48 hours or in the next five minutes.
Honestly, what we did all know was that if we waited long enough, Joe
Biden would tell us, he would either get in or he would not, and then we
So, honestly, seriously there was no reason to make it up before then.
And the point is not so much that all those people were wrong. They were.
The point is that what they were talking about was unknowable unless your
name was Joe Biden. You couldn`t know what Joe Biden`s decision was going
to be, because it was his decision alone.
Yes, there were a lot of sources who wanted to talk, but for the most
part they wanted to talk, because they wanted Joe Biden to run. And that`s
not news. You can`t turn your wishes or hopes or rumors into news just by
calling it news.
And so I sort of hope this whole saga, these last three months can be
a cautionary tale.
Joe Biden had to make up his mind. Today, he told his decision. In
the end, he was the only source that mattered and everybody else who got
out ahead of their skis on this is rightfully embarrassed for having done
Joining us is NBC News presidential historian Michael Beschloss.
Mr. Beschloss, it`s great to have you here. Thanks for being here.
MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, NBC NEWS PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Thank you,
MADDOW: Do you have any insight into why so much of the punditry and
prognostication around this was both overheated and so wrong?
BESCHLOSS: Well, I think people have a tendency to think if a
politician is saying he`s undecided about running, oftentimes in history, I
think, you would be the first to say it is fakery and they`re just sort of
trying to encourage a public draft, but in this case this was a story that
it`s more clear today than it`s been during the last five months, it`s a
story of a man who was in a situation that was poignant and cruel.
You know, Beau Biden only passed the last day of May, less than five
months ago. So you see a vice president who`s been thinking about running
for president for decades, coping with this horrible event in his life,
trying to see if his family is OK, trying to get through the grief process,
at the same time these nominating processes these days are very front
loaded, harder and harder for a candidate to declare this late. You see
him going back and forth in public.
I think it was natural for people to assume it was posturing. In
retrospect, the zigs and zags, the agonizing, that was all very real.
MADDOW: Is there any precedent – is there any historical precedent
for the public playing out of this saga? Obviously, a lot of people take a
long time figuring out if they`re going to run. And as you say, his
emotional predicament is unprecedented. We can all agree.
But, historically, has there been a public wishing and waiting for
such a long time?
BESCHLOSS: Oh, absolutely. Mario Cuomo famously in 1991, the primary
process that Bill Clinton finally won in the Democratic Party, Mario Cuomo
kept on giving signals, I will, I won`t, did not declare that he was not
going to run until the 20th of December, so that`s later in the process
that we`re talking about.
Robert Kennedy, when he was thinking about whether to run LBJ over the
Vietnam War issue in late 1967, 1968 was agonized, finally only declared
16th of March of that election year – the spring of the year that election
would have been held.
MADDOW: Michael Beschloss, NBC News presidential historian – thank
you for being here. It`s great to have you here on big nights like this to
give us some perspective.
BESCHLOSS: My pleasure. Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: That`s interesting. We have not had a vice president succeed
the president who he served alongside since Pappy Bush. But we`ve also had
two very, very consequential vice presidents in a row now, Dick Cheney and
Joe Biden, both very powerful vice presidents with big policy remits inside
I wonder if the vice presidency is a job that`s sort of evolving to be
less of a steppingstone to the presidency, and more of just a good job in
its own right?
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is the authority on this issue? The chicken
or the egg?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of people are on Becky`s side, but a lot of
people point out there was an egg that probably mutated.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But it wasn`t a real egg, so the chicken came
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my god, this you don`t see every day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone was calling in my ear.
SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R), OHIO: I`m from Ohio.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A commercial when you guys are running together.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Rob Portman. Who says snooze button with
you? You`re on fire.
PORTMAN: You want to hear the chicken laying the egg?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a man who –
PORTMAN: That answers the question.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There you go. He`s on my side.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rob Portman, Republican from Ohio.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Ohio Senator Rob Portman does a good chicken impression.
MADDOW: Where is the egg?
Senator Rob Portman of Ohio. If you know nothing else about Senator
Rob Portman, you will always know he makes bird noises very, very well.
As does Republican presidential candidate George Pataki.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE PATAKI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: At the risk of appears to
be a complete nerd, which sadly sometimes I am, you know what you do to
attract a bird is you make sounds, because they`re curious. So like – let
me just try this now.
Birds will hear that, and they`ll actually come to see what`s making
the sound. I attracted a 707, I think.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Former New York Governor George Pataki calls birds with his
mouth, fairly well, I think, though I`m no expert. But apparently,
Governor Pataki does bird watch and he can make that noise.
George Pataki can do that. What George Pataki cannot do is make it
onto the major stage for the Republican debates.
Governor Pataki has been the tallest kid at the kids table for the
last two Republican debates. And tonight, we learned he will be stuck at
that kids` table again for the third debate as well. We just got the
announcement tonight after the last qualifying poll came out today.
The last qualifying poll is an ABC poll that shows Donald Trump way
out ahead with 32 percent of the vote, one of the highest he`s had all
It has Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, and John Kasich all
doing terribly. They`re all down at 2 percent and 3 percent. But I got to
tell you, those 2 and 3 percent finishes in this final qualifying poll,
those are enough to get all of those candidates qualified by the skin of
their teeth for the next debate.
These are the ten candidates who have made it to next week`s
Republican debate. This is how they`re going to be arranged on stage, in
descending order of their polling averages.
So, it will be Donald trump will be in the center, and then radiating
outward by polling number, you`ll then have Ben Carson, Marco, Rubio, Jeb
Bush, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie, John Kasich,
and Rand Paul. Rand Paul, you made it.
At the kids table debate, I think they`re not ranking these guys. So,
I don`t know what order they`ll put them in, but these little strivers who
were invited at the kids` table, it`s Rick Santorum, Lindsey Graham, bird-
calling genius George Pataki, and Bobby Jindal, although I should tell that
you Bobby Jindal`s campaign is making noises that he might not even bother
showing up for the next debate if in fact he is at the kids table again.
I should tell you that good old Jim Gilmore did not even get invited
to the kids table, but when we asked for comment on that today from the Jim
Gilmore campaign, all we got was our own voices ricocheting back out to us
from the swirling vortex of void into which we had shouted, kind of, sort
of, but him not making the kids table I think probably means that he`s
MADDOW: Programming note times two: Friday night on this show,
Hillary Clinton will join us live for an interview. This will be Secretary
Clinton`s first sit-down interview since vice President Biden announced he
will not be running for president. It will also be the secretary`s first
interview after her full day of testimony on Capitol Hill tomorrow before
the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
Again, Hillary Clinton here for her first interview after both of
those rather epic political events right here Friday night, 9:00. I`m
thinking about maybe just sleeping here at the office until it happens just
to make sure nothing goes wrong.
I`ll be right back.
MADDOW: There was a time in American history when whole
neighborhoods, whole areas of cities were named by the ethnic group that
had decided to move in there. This, for instance is Germantown. It`s an
area of St. Louis that saw a huge influx of German immigrants in the 1840s.
It was named after them. Germantown was later renamed Baden.
But still, even by then, it was a tiny place in St. Louis, population
of about 400 people. The whole neighborhood consisted of 11 stores, three
wagon shops, four schools and four churches.
One of those churches, the earliest Protestant Church in Baden was
called Ebenezer Lutheran. It was organized in 1869 by eight families who
first held their worship services in a log house.
Over the years, of course, Baden has changed a lot. It`s now more
than 90 percent after African-American, for one. But Ebenezer Lutheran
Church has been there all along, in this big, beautiful church, big
beautiful building, it sits right in the middle of the residential
neighborhood there and the neighborhood is predominantly black, but
Ebenezer Lutheran congregation is racially diverse. It`s black people and
white people and all kinds of people worshipping together.
But when you worshippers arrived there this past Sunday morning
services, they found that something had tried to burn the place down. The
front door of the church was scorched black. It was clear from the damage
that somebody had set a fire there before. And with that discovery,
Ebenezer Lutheran Church became the sixth church in less than two weeks
that had been set on fire in that immediate area in what officials are now
calling a string of arson attacks.
The string of fires all happened at predominantly black churches in
predominantly black neighborhoods, all in about a three-mile radius in
north St. Louis, and St. Louis County. The first fire was sparked on
October 8th as Bethel Church, about 2 1/2 miles away from Ebenezer
There have been a string of them since. Investigators say in each of
the six incidences, the church`s front doors were set on fire, so similar
crimes. Most of the churches sustained relatively minor damages, but one
of the churches was nearly destroyed by the fire.
Now, investigators are not calling it a hate crime or anything yet.
Officials from the ATF, though, said in the statement, quote, “This fire-
setting activity is meant to send a message.” A $9,000 reward is now being
offered for anyone who has an information that leads to an arrest in this
string of fires.
One of the churches that sustained the worst damage is called the New
Life Missionary Baptist Church in the Walnut Park neighborhood of St.
Louis. The front doors to this tiny white church were charred in again
what appears to be an arson attack on Saturday. The siding of the church
entrance was completely melted.
New Life Missionary Church was in such bad shape this past Sunday
morning when congregants turned up for services that the pastor and his
congregation were forced to move outside. They held their services outside
on the church`s lawn, right in the shadow of their burn out church.
Six churches burned in less than two weeks, within a three-mile
radius. Again, it`s not yet clear what the motive is here.
Officials are still investigating, but joining us now is David Triggs.
He`s the pastor of the New Life Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis.
Pastor Triggs, thank you so much for joining us. It`s a real honor to
have you here with us tonight.
PASTOR DAVID TRIGGS, NEW LIFE MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH: Thank you
for having me, Rachel.
MADDOW: When you got the call this weekend that the church had been
damaged by fire, what went through your mind? What did you find in terms
of the extent of damage when you got there?
TRIGGS: Yes, it was a really disappointing site when I arrived on the
scene. The damage is very extensive. As you read in the report, we were
not able to hold service in the church.
But we did want to send the message that although the building had
been broken, the body was s still going to stand strong. We will not be
able to use the church again the way that we used to use it, but we are
moving forward with high spirits and high hopes that we will be able to
MADDOW: Have you found alternate accommodations? Are you going to
continue to hold services in some ad hoc way until the repairs can be done?
TRIGGS: Absolutely. We`ve gotten tremendous support from the
neighborhood. Companies like Better Family Life, we`ve been partnering
with, several other pastors in the area, the Red Cross may be helping us
out with tents in case of the weather conditions this coming Sunday.
But we do still plan on holding services outside. We have to send a
consistent message that we`re going to continue to stand and that our voice
isn`t going to be silenced and that we`re not going to hide in fear.
MADDOW: One of the reasons that this is a national story and we`re
talking about it here in national news, that the ATF is involved and all
the federal agencies is involved because these – I mean, church burnings
happen. Burnings of commercial buildings, all sorts of things happen.
Sometimes it feels like there`s more of a string than usual. In this case,
it seems very clear.
All the patterns of arson seem very similar and all the churches are
so close together, such a tight radius in which these things have happened.
Does that give you any insight into what might have motivated this? Who
this might? Where this might have come from? Or was this a complete
TRIGGS: You know, it was a complete shock. However, we are going to
always have people who are against whatever God is trying to do good for
our neighborhoods. This person obviously was someone who is spiritually
sick. And I believe that this person may have once upon a time been
injured or hurt by the church.
I`m not sure what his history is, or this person`s history is.
However, I do believe that this person is very familiar with these
churches. And in some ways, we have failed to reach the community as a
But what this has done for the churches in the St. Louis metropolitan
area, is it has accelerated – it has accelerated the need for us to become
united, to come together to put our differences aside by denomination, by
tradition, by race, color, nationality .and come together, united, making
one sound through one spirit.
MADDOW: Pastor David Triggs from New Life Missionary Baptist Church
in St. Louis – it`s inspiring to hear you be so positive and constructive
after you`ve been through. Good luck.
TRIGGS: Thank you.
MADDOW: Thank you.
TRIGGS: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. What you need to know for tomorrow`s big event on
Capitol Hill, which is going to be a big event here on MSNBC.
Stay with us. That`s next.
MADDOW: Maybe it`s something about the job. This you might recall
was Secretary of State John Kerry earlier this year, confined to his
hospital room after breaking his right femur in a biking accident. John
Kerry is an avid cyclist. This was s not his first fall, but that accident
kept him sidelined for weeks.
This was John Kerry`s predecessor in that same job.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TV ANCHOR: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took a nasty fall as
she boarded her plane yesterday. Clinton was leaving Yemen for the next
stop on her Mideast tour, Oman. The secretary of state is OK this morning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was not hurt in that fall
on that plane. But then the following year it happened again in a much
more serious circumstances.
She was at home recovering from a stomach virus when she became
dehydrated, fainted and suffered a concussion.
Secretary Clinton was out of work for three weeks because of that
concussion, and the injury wiped something off her calendar at the time.
She was forced to postpone her planned testimony that December to the
congressional committees investigating the terrorist attack on the U.S.
consulate in Benghazi. Secretary Clinton was scheduled to testify before
the house and Senate on that matter, but she had to delay her testimony
after she got hurt.
Lots of Republicans at the time got really classy and accused her of
faking it. George W. Bush`s of U.N. Ambassador John Bolton at the time
said Secretary Clinton had come up with a diplomatic illness, which is an
outrageous thing for anybody to say about somebody with a concussion, but
for John Bolton, that kind of thing coming out of his mount just meant it`s
When Hillary Clinton finally did give that testimony in January, you
might remember that she did so wearing prismatic special glasses that she
had to wear as a result of that concussion. That testimony was supposed to
be her definitive testimony on the Benghazi attacks. That was the showdown
Republicans had been waiting for.
But when all that was over, they decided they wanted more. That
testimony yielded this report on the Benghazi attacks. There was also this
one. There was also this one. There was also this one.
And also through there have been seven congressional investigations
into that attack and even though Secretary Clinton sat for five hours
testifying about it the last time around, now it`s time for the next round.
Tomorrow morning starting at 10:00 a.m., Secretary of State Hillary
Rodham Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify
again in front of yet another Benghazi committee. Her testimony is
expected to go on for eight hours or more, not including breaks.
This latest round of testimony comes in the wake of two House
Republicans acknowledging on tape that this latest investigation has
basically just been an exercise in trying to bring down Hillary Clinton`s
So, it will be interesting to see how Secretary Clinton reacts to that
new dynamic tomorrow, if at all. It will also be interesting to see
whether Democrats on this committee resign en masse once her system is
over, which is something they suggested they might be do. They might wait
until her testimony wraps and say right, are we done here? We`re out.
That`s the threat. The testimony begins at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow
morning. It could go all day and into the night. And yes, you can watch
it here on MSNBC.
That does it for us tonight. We hope to see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, Lawrence.
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