The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 1/7/2016
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: January 7, 2016
Guest: Chris Murphy
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: Thank you to the folks here at the Vermont Pub
and Brewery for hosting us. To the fine citizens of Burlington and
Vermont, thank you all. Wonderful being in your state.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBCH HOST: Chris Hayes, if you bring me back some
delicious Vermont brewed IPA, I will pay you triple whatever you paid for
HAYES: You got it. It`s a deal.
MADDOW: Arbitrage, America. Thanks, my friend.
And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. It is not that New
England politics doesn`t get weird. I mean, New England doesn`t have a
reputation, necessarily, for weird politics or weirdness in general.
But New England, trust me, I`ve lived in Massachusetts since 1998. New
England is just as weird as the rest of the country and sometimes even
weirder. Even in its politics.
Por ejemplo, this was the governor of the great state of Maine, Paul
LePage, speaking last night at an event discussing substance abuse at
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. PAUL LEPAGE (R), MAINE: Number one, I`ve got a bill in to the
legislature right now to take the traffickers. Now, the traffickers, these
aren`t people that take drugs. These are guys that are named D-Money,
Smoothie, Shifty, these type of guys that come from Connecticut and New
York. They come up here, they sell their heroin, then they go back home.
Incidentally, half the time, they impregnate a young white girl before they
leave, which is a real sad thing because now we have another issue that
we`ve got to deal with down the road.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Republican governor of the great state of Maine, Paul LePage,
speaking last night in comments that were just clipped and circulated
widely in Maine tonight. The governor saying part of the problem with
these D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty guys from New York and Connecticut who come
up to Maine to sell drugs is that, quote, “half the time they impregnate a
young white girl before they leave” – which the governor thinks is a real
sad thing because you know what that leads to down the road.
After that led to some nationwide headlines tonight about the governor`s
racially charged remarks, not to mention this headline from the local
“Bangor Daily News,” LePage” – do we have that other one? “LePage`s
alleged racist remarks are bonkers.” They`re not alleged. We`ve got them.
After earning himself a round of headlines like that, the governor did put
out a statement tonight saying everyone just completely misunderstood what
happened here. Quote, “The governor is not making comments about race.
Race is irrelevant.”
Yes, how dare you terrible journalists bring up the issue of race?
Governor Paul LePage was not talking about race. He never mentioned race.
Just as a refresher, what exactly did the governor say again?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEPAGE: Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young white girl
before they leave.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The governor of the great state of Maine. On days like this Paul
LePage serves as a walking, breathing reminder that there is nothing
inherently genteel, low-key, or even necessarily rational about politics in
the great American Northeast.
At this point Paul LePage – for the last – we started covering Paul
LePage when he first got elected. His time in office has not changed
anything about what was so interesting about him from the first place.
But at this point, he does stand as a singular reminder that New England
can be just as nutty as everywhere else.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEPAGE: The only thing that I`ve heard is if you take a plastic ball, you
put it in the microwave, and you heat it up it gives off a chemical similar
to estrogen. And so worst case, some woman might have little beards. But
we don`t want to do that.
REPORTER: What would you like to do?
LEPAGE: I want to find the Press Herald building and blow it up.
TV ANCHOR: We`re about to put on screen what the governor said in
response, and some of our viewers who may find it distasteful may want to
hit the mute button and turn away for the next 20 seconds or so.
The governor told the reporters, “Senator Jackson claims to be for the
people but he`s the first one to give it to the people without providing
Vaseline.” When he was asked if he realized some people might find that
comment offensive, he`s reported to have said, “Good. It ought to, because
I`ve been taking it for two years.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Maine`s Republican Governor Paul LePage, who incidentally is
facing potential impeachment proceedings as we speak in his home state.
Paul LePage, you also might remember him for once honoring Martin Luther
King Day in his state by telling the Maine chapter of the NAACP that they
should in his words kiss his butt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: And what`s your response to them saying it`s more than just one
instance but rather a pattern?
LEPAGE: Tell them to kiss my butt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: See? New England politics can be totally offensive. New England
politicians added whoopee cushions and scribbled racist caricatures to all
those Norman Rockwell paintings a very long time ago.
For some reason, New England still has a reputation for having real nice
politics. But you know, guys like Paul LePage in Maine are I think still
the outer edge of it, but New England politics can be very edgy, can be
very interesting, can be very weird. And every state is a little
different. In Maine they`ve got Paul LePage.
In New Hampshire, they recently had to deal with an influx of libertarian
secessionists who are trying to move into New Hampshire in sufficient
numbers so that they could secede from the rest of the country and the rest
of the state and create a New Hampshire libertarian utopia. It hasn`t
happened yet but one of the unexpected ways the New Hampshire free state
movement has had impact in that state is in one New Hampshire town, the
libertarians decided that they would stick it to the man, they would starve
the beast of government by feeding everybody`s parking meters all day long,
so that nobody ever got a parking ticket in that town ever again. And the
town would thereby be starved of parking ticket revenue. Mwa, ha, ha, ha,
Next door in Vermont, we`ve been covering the very, very seedy story in
that state of a long-time Republican state senator who`s about to go on
trial on multiple lurid sexual assault charges. The state senator was
arrested at the state capitol last year and the Vermont state legislature
has had this dilemma ever since about what they want to do with their
indicted state senator who kept coming to work after he was out on bail.
Finally this week, just yesterday the Vermont state Senate voted to suspend
him as a senator. He`s the first Vermont legislator ever stripped of his
powers in that state. But the litany of sex assault charges against this
guy from multiple women, some of whom were girls and not women during the
alleged events of which he is accused, those have been rattling around
behind the Vermont state legislature like cans tied to its bumper for
almost a year now.
And everybody thinks of I think new England in general, Vermont in
particular as hippie-dippy, liberal, low-key, very blue states. But you
look closely, and politics there are not only more rough and tumble than
you might think, they`re more scandalous than you might think and they are
more bipartisan than you might think. That state senator who just got
thrown out of his seat while facing these lurid charges in Vermont, he`s a
Republican and he`s had a long-time seat in the Vermont state Senate.
The Vermont governor`s race was unexpectedly close. In 2014, you might
remember the Democratic incumbent did not cleanly win that election and had
to go to the state legislature before Vermont got its governor in 2014.
The lieutenant government in the state of Vermont is a Republican.
Vermont Republicans have also been getting some interesting national
attention this year because Vermont`s holding its primary very early on.
March 1st, they`re on Supper Tuesday this year. And so, Vermont has had
presidential visits from John Kasich and from Rand Paul and both of those
visits the Republican Party in Vermont went out of its way to be very
welcoming too, very excited about when they`ve got these national
candidates coming to Vermont of all places.
I should mention, though, that the Vermont Republican Party was not as
welcoming when they learned this month of Donald Trump`s plans to make an
appearance tonight in Vermont`s largest city.
When the Burlington, Vermont Donald Trump event was first announced, the
Vermont Republican Party did not put out the kind of excited welcoming
statement that they did about John Kasich or Rand Paul. Instead, they put
out this statement which said, “We learned late today through media reports
that Donald Trump will be making a brief campaign stop in Vermont. The
Vermont Republican Party did not invite Mr. Trump and has no role in this
As we reported last night, the Trump campaign also managed to infuriate
local officials in Burlington, specifically the police department, when
they distributed roughly 20,000 tickets for this event they were holding
tonight in Burlington despite the fact that the venue for the event seats
only 1,400 people.
The local police chief in Burlington told the Burlington free press that
had a rock band – actually, I should be specific, had Phish, an excellent
jam band, done something similar in the city, the police would not have
hesitated to cancel the event on public safety grounds. If they had
overbooked a 1,400-seat venue to the tune of 20,000 tickets, they would
have shut that down for public safety reasons had it been anything other
than a political event.
Because this was a political event, though, they did not want to shut down
Donald Trump in Burlington tonight. That said, the police made no bones
about the fact that they were fairly furious about how this all went down.
The police chief said today that yesterday, they started raising concerns
with the Trump campaign when they realized how much the campaign had
oversold the event. They started trying to engage with the campaign about
what this would mean in terms of public safety, the kind of problems this
would create for the town and the city.
The Trump campaign apparently simply stopped returning calls from the
police chief once he started asking them those questions. So, with the
police department furious and incommunicado with the Trump campaign and
with 20,000 tickets distributed for a venue that can only hold 1,400
people, nobody quite knew what was going to happen today in the town that
had Bernie Sanders as its mayor for a long time.
Nobody knew how it would turn out. Nobody knew how many of the people who
turned out actually would be Donald Trump supporters. And particularly for
the national media, I think nobody quite knew what Donald Trump supporters
from Vermont might actually be like.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: So where are you from? Are you from Vermont?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Vermont.
REPORTER: Vermont. Are you a Republican? Democrat?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m a Republican.
REPORTER: Got it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
REPORTER: And is this (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it is.
REPORTER: What`s he said that attracted you to him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s not a career politician. He can`t be bought. He
says what everybody else wants to say and they`re afraid to say.
And that`s what we need. This political correctness is for the birds. You
know, it`s destroying this country. And he`ll make it better again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want to see what he has to offer and see if he
seems sincere about it.
REPORTER: So, are you here as a supporter? Someone who`s open minded? Or
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m independent. I`m real open-minded.
REPORTER: OK. Are you from Vermont?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
REPORTER: So what`s your reaction when you hear he`s getting potentially
20,000 people who RSVP`ed to come today?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You never know how many people are not going to show or
– I mean, that is a little bit crazy. And that`s why I`m here so early.
But you don`t know in this day and age if they`ve been bombed with, you
know, people just trying to make it look like there`s 20,000 people. So I
just have no real statement on that. It`s kind of crazy, but –
REPORTER: So you`re out here as a supporter, then?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely.
REPORTER: And there are obviously reports about how this venue only fits
1,400 people, the campaign has 20,000 people theoretically that RSVP`ed.
What`s your response to all of the frenzy here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At first I thought how can that be? We went online,
we got our tickets early. I think it`s a good thing. I think this shows
Trump is stirring up emotions within the people of the United States. And
I think it`s good.
There are some people here who are for Trump, I have no doubt, and there
are people here who are not for Trump. But I think Trump is scaring
people, maybe those that aren`t for him. As to, you know, people are
supporting him. And there is maybe going to be a change. And I hope that
REPORTER: And so what`s your reaction when you see that there`s possibly
20,000 people in a place like Burlington, which is Bernie Sanders` backyard
– front yard. His campaign headquarters is right there in the square. I
mean, what`s your reaction when you hear this big outpouring for a
Republican in an otherwise pretty liberal –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I came across the lake. We call it across the
pond. I`m from the state of New York. And I understand that maybe this is
Bernie`s stomping grounds. But at the same time this is the United States
of America. This is a free country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A country that the freedom that we always had in the
past has been taken away. And you feel that it`s our duty, obligation to
support someone that we feel will bring our country back to freedom again.
I think that`s the main reason.
REPORTER: You think that man`s Donald Trump?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not necessarily. I really haven`t quite decided. I
do like – I do like Chris Christie.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see him. I was
within driving distance. I drove 200 miles, roughly, from Kingston, New
REPORTER: So what does it mean to you that he would come to a place that`s
within driving distance here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It means a lot. That`s why I`m here standing in line
waiting for four hours, to see him and support him.
REPORTER: It`s pretty cold out here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s not cold. This is the great northeast. No cold.
REPORTER: It`s cold for me.
So, if the election were tomorrow you`d vote for him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.
REPORTER: And is there anything he could say that would make you change
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, my mind is made up.
REPORTER: So, are you a Democrat, Republican, independent?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like my friend was telling that guy over at CNN,
actually in Vermont, you don`t have to be registered. So, we like to say
we`re registered independents. But, yes, so I`d say, I would like to say
I`m a social liberal and kind of a I guess – when it comes to financial
things I`m a little bit more conservative.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
REPORTER: So, is there anything Trump could say that would attract you to
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he said let`s go play golf and I`ll fly you down and
if he could do my hair up like his, I`m all for it. Let`s do it. Golf
with Brady and Trump and maybe Samuel L. Jackson. We`ll see. I think
they`re on the outs right now. But yes, I`d like to have to go play golf
with the guy sometime. That would get my vote.
REPORTER: And are you from Vermont?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am indeed. Born and raised.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re here to supervise all these people here to make
sure that they behave.
REPORTER: So, is there any – what`s the political reason you`re out here
today? Or is there one?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I heard the GOP committee in Bangor County has
– and we`re here to support Trump and support the GOP ticket in general,
both national and Vermont. We brought our chairs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re having a great time. That`s what it`s about.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People like that I have to watch out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, I told you I was going to go get us cold drinks
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. I take that back.
REPORTER: So, if the election were tomorrow, would you vote for Trump?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t think so.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I really haven`t pinpointed anybody down really.
I`m interested in the guy but I haven`t really pinpointed who I would vote
for at this moment.
REPORTER: So there anyone else? You said you`re interested in Mr. Trump
of course. Is there anyone else in the Republican Party that`s on your
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I did like – I don`t think he`s going to make
it. But I did kind of like him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Brilliant footage. Brilliant. I love that lady and that kid
sitting next to each other making plans to have cold beverages later.
Did you notice the pot leaf dotting the I on his Bernie shirt?
Some of the people who turned out for the Donald Trump event in Burlington,
Vermont today – and it`s interesting to see that a lot of people who
turned up, whether or not they were Republicans, and a lot of them were, a
lot of people turned up not necessarily already committed to supporting the
Trump campaign. I mean, that`s part of why you turn out to a campaign
event, right? To see if you like the candidate, see the candidate in
person. See how the candidate strikes you.
But the Trump campaign made a remarkable decision tonight that they would
turn away anybody who would not profess to them or prove to them that they
were already committed supporters of Mr. Trump. They turned away people
who could not pledge that they were Trump supporters. It was a private
event. Nobody who didn`t already support Trump would be allowed in. What
a weird freaking day.
You know, I mean, people think that Vermont and New England are weird in
their own New England hippy dippy blue state ways. They`re really not.
They are more complicated than that. They`re just as gloriously weird as
the relative of the country. But even with that, today in Burlington it
was kind of weird.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: So if the election were tomorrow would you vote for Trump?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I certainly would.
REPORTER: And is there anything he could say today that would make you
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, ISIS is a huge problem. And these people we have
in there now, they don`t have a clue. They`re letting them get more
powerful, more powerful. And they`re here in the United States. And we`re
going to be fighting them here. Then they want to take our guns away from
us and we can`t defend ourselves. I`ve got news for them. They ain`t
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Got a great big crowded show for you tonight including a very
interesting report from an NBC “Nightly News” team which went looking for
water in one American city today. You will be surprised what they found
and what they did not find. That story is next. Stay with us.
MADDOW: This is fascinating. For the past two days, NBC “Nightly News”
has had a team reporting from Flint, Michigan. They`re there reporting on
the lead poisoning of the city of Flint, which is a disaster created by the
state government in Michigan. Federal prosecutors are now investigating
Today, that NBC “Nightly News” team decided to see that if you lived in
Flint and you wanted to find clean safe not poisoned water, what would you
do? How would you get it? How would you get water, which after all you
literally cannot live without as a human being? You can`t get it from the
tap. Where could you get it?
City officials in Flint told NBC`s Stephanie Gosk that as of right now,
there is no daily government-run water distribution of any kind for the
roughly 100,000 people who live in Flint. The tap water is still unsafe
there. But there`s no other distribution of water there other than the
unsafe tap water. No other distribution of water that`s been arranged by
the city or the state on a daily basis.
Local officials did tell Stephanie Gosk that if she wanted to get her hands
on some clean water in Flint today, maybe she could try the local food bank
or maybe she could try Pastor Bobby Jackson at the Mission of Hope shelter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANIE GOSK, NBC NEWS: So how many bottles of water are you giving out
REVEREND BOBBY JACKSON, MISSION OF HOPE: So six times 140. So –
GOSK: That`s a lot.
JACKSON: That`s a lot of water. It`s a lot of water.
And what we do is we take the cases and we actually break them down because
in the poor neighborhoods a lot of people, they ride their bicycle here to
get water or they walk here to get water.
GOSK: So, they physically can`t carry a lot.
JACKSON: They physically can`t carry it. If they drive up and they have
four and their family we`ll give it to them. But we`re doing this on an
emergency basis. Not to fill their cupboards. It`s to hydrate them with
good clean healthy water.
GOSK: This is very basic. This is drinking water. You`re just trying to
get drinking water to people.
GOSK: And they don`t have it. But pastor, you`ve run out of water.
JACKSON: Yes. Again, being a man of God, I have to have faith and I have
to know that more is coming from somewhere.
GOSK: Have you ever gotten it from the city?
GOSK: Have you ever gotten it from the state?
GOSK: Who`s giving you the water?
JACKSON: Actually, it`s all come from donations. It`s amazing. Coca-Cola
has been outstanding. They`re the biggest supplier so far.
Walmart has helped us. We just received – we`ve gone three times to the
food bank of eastern Michigan. They gave us 30 cases at a time. But we
run through that in a day.
And then the procedure of putting the filters on, people that don`t do it
right, I`ve heard a lot of them come down and they want one of our
volunteers maybe to go to their house and help them put the filter on right
because the way it`s on it`s not working properly.
Also, after the filter is used for a certain period of time, it has to be
replaced. The filter in the filter has to be replaced. You know –
GOSK: Are they easy to get their hands on, the filters? Do you have any
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Stephanie Gosk of NBC “Nightly News” in Flint, Michigan, today at
a local shelter called the Mission of Hope where people have been going for
water, because no other safe options have been provided for them.
The cupboards there, however, are now bare. Pastor Bobby Jackson is the
one trying to meet that basic need in Flint. But as of today he was out,
out of donations, out of water for his neighbors.
And this is today. In the middle of what is supposedly widely recognized
as a crisis now, right? What “Nightly News” identified in this interview,
what they uncovered as a problem in Flint when they just went very
basically looking to get some water today, what they uncovered right now is
that this problem is not getting fixed just because people are talking
about it and there`s news stories about it now.
For all the sudden interest, for all the talk now in Michigan government
and politicians apologizing and the media covering the situation in Flint,
all this talk about helping Flint, people in Flint still literally do not
have water that is safe to drink. They don`t have water filters.
And so, it is regular people on the ground in Flint who are beginning to
realize that even with all the attention if they don`t do something about
this problem nobody`s going to. Today, starting at 7:00 this morning, that
included the local sheriff.
Technically, the county sheriff, Robert Pickell, he does not have a
particular role in this emergency. He`s a law enforcement guy, right? But
he assigned himself a role in trying fix this problem today. He just
decided on his own that he might be able to take on some of this problem on
The sheriff tells us today he picked up 1,000 water filters from a
government office where they have been sitting. He also picked up bottled
water from a local food bank. He got a truck donated from a local towing
company to haul everything.
And then he put together a work crew, which he can do because he`s a
sheriff, right? They had reserve deputies who are basically volunteers.
They had a few police officers. And I kid you not, they used people who
had been sentenced to community service, because nothing says community
service like responding to an official emergency in your own town when no
one else will.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF ROBERT PICKELL, GENESEE COUNTY, MICHIGAN: They`ll be unloading the
pallets and handing it to the reserve deputies, who will be going in.
We`re going to chart who has not had a filter, who had a filter in the
past, who needs water, how much water, and we`re going to take care of –
we`re going to do this until we get every person in the city of Flint with
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The sheriff started doing this today on his own. Sheriff Pickell
tells us that he and his crew, they picked a neighborhood of older homes to
start with because everybody knows older homes are a higher risk in this
crisis because of lead pipes.
With the sheriff`s early start today he says he and his crew made it to a
couple hundred homes by afternoon. This is a city of 100,000 people. He
says he thinks they can ramp up to maybe 300 homes tomorrow on their second
But so far, of the homes they have visited, they found that two out of
three of them didn`t have water filters already, two out of three, 2/3, no
filters, zero protection from the lead in the water, which the state
definitely knows about now, right? And is supposedly responding to on an
emergency basis with lots of happy talk.
And we know from this “Nightly News” reporting today that not only do
people in Flint just not have water filters, even now, they don`t have
other sources of safe water either right now, in Flint. This morning, this
So, yes, the story of the lead poisoning of Flint, Michigan, is now
national news, which is great. But it is absolutely ongoing and live and
not a solved problem. This is like – the only analogy I can come up with
here is like this is a mugging that is under way right this second, a
mugging that is happening.
That is not the time to convene a meeting on getting better street lighting
and how to ramp up our policing in high-crime areas. This is the time to
stop the mugging that is under way on the street right now where an actual
person is getting beaten up and robbed. Flint right now does need long-
term help and planning. It also needs an emergency response right now,
like it needs a FEMA-style response if not a FEMA response. Flint needs
like the Red Cross, National Guard, trucks full of water, tonight.
Governor Rick Snyder met with the mayor of Flint today, Karen Weaver.
Interestingly, the governor did not get off his tuchus and take himself to
Flint. He made the mayor come to him in Lansing.
And yes, they`re talking about all kinds of things they want to plan to do
in Flint as this emergency response rolls out. But right now, the water is
not safe in Flint right now, and the way people are dealing with this
manmade disaster in Flint, both in getting water and in helping their
neighbors, is amazingly catch as catch can, voluntary and just local people
doing it for themselves on their own initiative with whatever they can
scrape together with no help from the city or the state. Awesome.
Joining us now, Stephanie Gosk of NBC “Nightly News” who has been reporting
with her team from Flint.
Stephanie, thank you very much for being here. Thanks for doing this
GOSK: Thanks for having me, Rachel.
MADDOW: So when you set out today in Flint to find water, what was your
first stop? How did you start? And where did it go from there?
GOSK: Well, we did what every TV news crew does at the beginning of the
day. We thought to ourselves, OK, what`s our picture going to be of the
day? And we thought, well, the low-hanging fruit`s got to be grabbing
video of people handing out bottles of water.
So, I started to make some calls, checked in with a couple of activists,
and they called me back and one of them was on the phone with me. I said,
all right, so where are the spots today that we`re going to go see bottled
water handed out? And she was silent and she says, well, it happened over
the weekend – hang on, let me check. You know what? I don`t actually
know if anything`s happening official today handing out water.
Now, keep in mind this is a city, 40 percent poverty. These are people
that were already struggling to get by before the water went bad. And they
don`t have the money to buy water. They really don`t.
So, we said to her, well, there`s got to be someone helping out. She said,
well, actually, there`s this one place. It`s called the Mission of Hope.
It`s in the north end of town, which is a dicey area. And Pastor Bobby
every single day has been handing out water. And you know, you can give
him a call and go check it out.
So, we roll up there, there`s a big sign Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to
4:00 p.m., we`re handing out water. And he comes out big smile on his
face, we`re chatting with him. So where is everybody? Where`s the water?
And he said, “I ran out.”
GOSK: “Completely ran out.”
And we said, well, when`s it coming? It must be coming later on today.
No. It`s not coming for three or four days.
He`s not getting it.
People are showing up asking him about the water. We walked around town.
We talked to some of the neighbors, talked to this one woman who was on her
way down to the Mission of Hope. And I asked her what are you doing today?
How are you going to get your water? She said I`m on my way to Pastor
Bobby, he always gives me water.
She wasn`t going to get it. And we talked to someone else who said yeah, I
get my drinking water from pastor Bobby, but you know, otherwise, I have
really no choice, we have to cook with it, we have to shower with it.
And you think about in a neighborhood like that and in parts of it, it
almost looks like a war zone, Rachel. This is a really run-down place.
What about babies? What about formula? If there`s no safe drinking water,
what are they getting? It was really – it was really shocking. And you
come away from it just thinking they need some help. Pretty quickly.
MADDOW: Yes. And talking about helping them is not actually the same
thing as helping them. And you documenting that today is invaluable.
Stephanie Gosk, thank you. And thank you for staying there late tonight
for us. I really appreciate this.
And I look forward to working with you ahead on this.
GOSK: You`re welcome.
MADDOW: Stephanie Gosk of NBC “Nightly News” reporting this week from
Flint, Michigan. And you know, this story has now become a national story.
That`s why people like Stephanie are there.
And it could not have happened without the local reporting in Flint, which
could not have happened without the local activism in Flint.
But still, all the attention is not a cure. I can`t believe they still
haven`t figured out a way how to get people even bottled water. I almost
cannot believe it. I wouldn`t have believed it if I hadn`t seen it today.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: Here`s a quick uh-oh update, from one of the presidential
contenders this year. This is not good news. You might have heard that
Democratic presidential candidate Martin O`Malley recently failed to
qualify to get on the ballot in Ohio for the Democratic primary this year.
His campaign needed 1,000 signatures to get onto that ballot but fewer than
800 of his signatures were deemed valid. So, we knew already that
Democratic voters wouldn`t see Martin O`Malley`s name on the ballot when
they go to vote in the Democratic primary in Ohio this year on March 15th.
We knew that before.
What we just learned tonight is that Martin O`Malley also will not even
make it onto the Ohio Democratic primary as a write-in candidate. To
qualify as a write-in candidate, a candidate would need to have filed a
declaration of intent with the state of Ohio by this past Monday. The Ohio
secretary of state`s office said they didn`t receive that declaration of
intent until the next day, until Tuesday.
So, not on the ballot, not a write-in candidate either. Whether or not
Martin O`Malley ever hopes to be competitive in the Democratic presidential
race this year, in at least one crucial state, he literally will not even
be allowed to compete at all.
Like I said, this is an uh-oh moment for the O`Malley campaign such as it
Stay with us.
MADDOW: At this time last night I got on the air and we had a fancy
breaking news banner because there was a stock market going on – a stock
market crash going on in China. Last night, Chinese officials in fact had
to halt all trading for the day for the second time this week after the
Chinese market basically dropped through the floor.
The Chinese market sank 7 percent in the span of less than 30 minutes at
the open around this time last night. So, we said last night that that
development could be a very ominous sign for the markets in the U.S. today.
And sure enough, today, the U.S. markets got absolutely rocked. The Dow
fell nearly 400 points today. All three major indices here in the U.S.
were down big. The Dow and the S&P 500 are now both off to their worst
ever starts to the year.
And apparently, it is mostly because of what`s happening in China. Well,
it`s that time again. Beijing is 13 hours ahead of the American East
Coast. And so, the markets in China have just now opened for the day for
Friday. And hey, hey. At least for now, they`re still open which I
couldn`t say last night. That`s a good sign.
Yesterday, they only made it literally less than 30 minutes before they
pulled the plug on the entire market. Today in China, the markets opened
even slightly up. Then they went way down but now they`re back up again.
At this point, the fact that trading is still going on at all, that`s an
encouraging sign, better than yesterday at least. No promises from here on
Watch this space.
MADDOW: It was early in the morning. It was 6:46 a.m. and local reporter
Alison Parker was out with her colleague her cameraman, Adam Ward, near
Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia. Alison was doing a live interview with
the executive director of the local Chamber of Commerce for her TV station
WDBJ in Roanoke, Virginia.
During that interview she and her cameraman were ambushed. They were shot
and killed while doing that live interview live on the air. The woman
Alison Parker was interviewing that day was also injured in the ambush. It
all happened on camera. It happened during a live interview. This is this
past summer, past August.
I am not going to show you the footage of their murder, but it is what
happened and it was televised live.
The gunman who killed those two people, who we`re also not going to show
you, thank you very much, he was actually a former employee of that Roanoke
TV station. He`d been dismissed from his job for past incidents of
volatile behavior. Alison Parker was 24 years old. Adam Ward was 27 years
And after that shooting, after that absolutely terrible tragedy, the father
of reporter Alison Parker, he vowed to do whatever he could to try to stop
American gun violence. He started pressing Congress to expand background
checks for all gun sales.
Part of doing that meant that he would reach out to his own member of
Congress in Virginia. His own member of Congress was Bob Goodlatte. He
happens to be a very powerful member of Congress. He`s the chairman of the
judiciary committee in the House. It`s his committee that basically
decides what gun measures the House is or isn`t going to take up.
Alison Parker`s father, Andy, started reaching out to Congressman Bob
Goodlatte less than a month after his daughter`s televised murder. It was
outreach that did not get very far.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDY PARKER, FATHER OF SLAIN REPORTER: Let`s take a look at Representative
Bob Goodlatte, whose congressional district includes the TV station where
my daughter worked. Mr. Goodlatte has failed to even bring up background
checks. He has the power to do so. Fails to do that. Fails to bring it
up for a hearing. And I thought it was ironic.
Late yesterday afternoon, his staff reached out to me and left a message
asking me if I would be available to meet with Representative Goodlatte at
the very time that I`m meeting with you all here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: He went on to say, “If you, Congressman Goodlatte, won`t support
background checks, we will find someone else who will.”
Congressman Bob Goodlatte is up for re-election. He`s a 12-term House
incumbent. And there is now talk that one of the people who might
challenge him for his seat this year is Alison parker`s boyfriend, who is
also an employee at the TV station where she worked and where she was
His name is Chris Hurst. He has not said he will run but he has reportedly
met with officials from the Democratic House Campaign Committee about
possibly running against Bob Goodlatte to try to take his seat.
Since Republicans have blocked any action at all on guns in Congress,
including importantly in Bob Goodlatte`s committee, President Obama this
week just announced actions that he figured he could take without Congress.
Earlier tonight the president did a big town hall event in Virginia on this
The president also tonight wrote this op-ed for the “New York Times,” just
posted tonight, about how we all have a responsibility to reduce gun
violence. And in advance of these new provisions he`s rolled out and the
op-ed and the town hall tonight, the administration also put out the –
basically the highest-level surrogates they`ve got in the form of White
House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and also Vice President Biden,
specifically to go to places that have been the sites of high-profile
egregious acts of gun violence in this country and talk about this issue.
And that included Vice President Biden going not just to Virginia but to
Roanoke, Virginia and specifically to WDBJ, to do an interview with Alison
and Adam`s station. The station where reporter Alison Parker and cameraman
Adam Ward worked. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TV ANCHOR: Today, WDBJ 7`s Justin Ward sat down with Vice President Joe
Biden and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. He is live now from the White
JUSTIN WARD, WDBJ 7: Valerie Jarrett says all of these measures depend on
people following the law and that law is becoming more strict for gun
buyers and dealers. Jarrett and the vice president say new resources will
ensure that the people who need mental health treatment get it.
JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The law that is on the
books and has been declared constitutional by the courts, Supreme Court of
the United States, that law should be able to function. And the way to
make it function better is to make sure the people with a mental illness
adjudicated shouldn`t be able to have a gun, make sure that people who are
felons shouldn`t have a gun, make sure people who are abusers shouldn`t
have a gun.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Vice President Biden speaking with WDBJ from Roanoke, Virginia
tonight. One of the other stations he spoke to in advance of tonight`s
town hall meeting was the local NBC station in Hartford, Connecticut, the
station right outside Newtown, where we all know what happened at the Sandy
Hook Elementary School three years ago.
The mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary happened December 14th, 2012.
The congressman representing that district at the time of the shooting was
Chris Murphy. Chris Murphy was serving in the House at the time. But he
had just been elected that year to be the next U.S. senator for
Less than a month before the shooting happened, he had been elected
senator. He had not even been sworn in yet when gun violence hit home
right in his district and became the North Star for his time in the United
Senator Chris Murphy joins us now.
Senator Murphy, thanks very much for being with us tonight. I appreciate
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: Of course.
MADDOW: What do you think of the president`s town hall tonight on guns,
the new policies he`s just announced, this new initiative really driven by
the White House to try to make progress here? What`s your reaction?
MURPHY: I think this is really exceptional that the president of the
United States has taken the entire first week of his last year in office
dedicated to one issue. I think this will go down as a seminal week in the
history of the anti-gun violence movement, not just because something
happened, not just because the movement resulted in a change of policy that
I think is going to save lives.
I really think you`re going to have tens of thousands more background
checks conducted because of this executive order and lives will be saved
because of it. But also because the president and his advisers have laid
down a marker that he`s going to spend the rest of this year continuing to
challenge Congress, continuing to build up the political infrastructure
around anti-gun violence movements. And as he said in his op-ed today in
his post presidency, he`s only going to be supporting candidates who are in
line with his and my views on the future of American gun laws.
And so, at a moment when I think the movement needed to galvanize, needed
to be shown that there was reason to continue to come out year after year,
even without congressional action, this delivered a punch that I think is
going to have long-lasting effects.
MADDOW: I`m glad you mentioned that about the president`s op-ed tonight.
In that op-ed, he promises he will not campaign for any other politicians.
Anybody who wants him to campaign, he won`t do it unless they are in favor
of gun reforms.
The president investing basically in the process, trying to bend the arc in
terms of what the incentives are in terms of our political process on guns.
And to that point, I want to ask you to elaborate a little bit on something
else you just mentioned there, about the president trying to help build up
the infrastructure for the anti-gun violence movement. What do you mean by
MURPHY: So, what I mean, recognition that a lot of us have come to, that,
you know, we couldn`t beat the NRA in 2013 because they had 20 years of
political power. And the modern anti-gun violence movement really does
date to Sandy Hook.
I don`t want to take 20 years, not even 10, but we need to have more foot
soldiers out there on the street. We need to have more money, and we have
to have more voters who come to the polls with issues of background checks,
higher on their list of priorities. And so, the president made a
commitment that this is going to be one of his main issues he is works on
post presidency. You see it playing out in real time in this presidential
I think it`s exceptional at some level that the Democratic Party which four
years ago was split on guns, today is a party in which it`s essentially a
litmus test, if you`re running for president, to have a strong position on
at least background checks and many other gun measures.
So, I think this is a sign the president is committed for the long haul to
help us build this movement.
MADDOW: And it`s a sign of what he`s been able to do already in terms of
changing those incentives by saying it ought to be a litmus test.
Senator Murphy, fascinating, thank you. I know you`re a big part of what`s
happened thus far. So, congratulations on your work thus far. And thanks
for talking with us.
MURPHY: Thanks a lot, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Programming note. On Tuesday night`s show this week, we made some
noise when we covered, using historical tape, some eerie similarities
between the current Donald Trump for president campaign and the 1968
campaign for president by former Alabama Governor George Wallace.
Since then, a lot of people are mad at us for doing that. But some people
who were closest to George Wallace, including his daughter and two of his
top former staffers have come forward to say that actually, yes, Donald
Trump is running a very Wallace-esque campaign.
Well, tonight, on “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”, a gentleman
named Tom Turnipseed, who is executive director of George Wallace`s 1968
presidential campaign and his wife Judy, who is a top staffer on that
campaign, they`re going to be guests of Lawrence`s on “THE LAST WORD” to
talk about whether or not, in fact, Donald Trump is, in fact, the second
coming of George Wallace. Everybody freak out!
That`s coming up next on “THE LAST WORD.” Stay with us here, though.
There`s more here first.
MADDOW: To reiterate, Lawrence O`Donnell is about to talk to the executive
director of the George Wallace for president campaign of 1968, about why
that man thinks Donald Trump is basically the second coming of George
Wallace 1968. That`s going to be amazing and that`s in just a minute.
But before that, I just have one last thing for you to keep an eye on for
tomorrow`s news. It`s a Supreme Court thing.
September 2014, Governor Bob McDonald of Virginia and his wife were
convicted on nearly a dozen felony corruption charges for taking hundreds
of thousands of dollars worth of gifts in exchange for promoting a
businessman`s dietary supplement company. He was sentenced to two years in
His conviction was unanimously upheld by an appeals court. Now, his
lawyers have taken the case to the United States Supreme Court. It`s
officially on the docket for tomorrow. What this means specifically is
that when the Supreme Court gets the case tomorrow, Governor McDonald needs
four members of the Supreme Court to agree to hear his case. If that
doesn`t happen, if he doesn`t get four Supreme Court justices saying they
want to hear his case as a Supreme Court case, then, Governor Bob McDonald
is going to prison. This is his last chance.
That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
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