The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 2/3/2016
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: February 3, 2016
Guest: Elijah Cummings
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris, from across the state.
Thank you, my friend.
And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
We are also live from New Hampshire tonight. We`re in Durham, New
Hampshire, at the site of tomorrow night`s big Democratic debate. The
first one-on-one face-off between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, which
is going to be here live starting at exactly this time tomorrow night on
MSNBC. We`re going to have more details on that coming up in tonight`s
If you`re thinking didn`t Rachel say this time last night she didn`t know
if it was happening? That`s true. It`s happening. I`ve got the details
for you ahead.
But before we get to those details, I do actually have legit breaking news
hot off the presses. What I have in my hot little hand here is the first,
the first new national poll in the presidential race since the Iowa
caucuses. This is a poll on the Republican side. It was done by PPP.
Again, first national poll of the race for the Republican nomination since
Iowa. And we`ve got this poll exclusively tonight. Nobody else has this.
I am breaking this news right now.
What this new poll says is that Donald Trump is still winning. But he is
winning by a lot less than he was winning before. The last time this
national poll was taken by PPP, it was mid-December. Donald Trump was in
the lead with 34 percent of the vote nationwide.
Now, after Iowa, he has dropped nine points. He has dropped nine points.
He has dropped from 34 percent down to 25 percent of the vote. He`s still
leading but leading by a lot less than he was before.
And right behind him, tied at 21 percent each are Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
Again, Donald Trump first, Cruz and Rubio tied for second. It`s that tiny
little split between them, only four points between Trump at 25 percent and
Cruz and Rubio at 21 percent.
Again, this is breaking news. This poll is going to be officially released
tomorrow, again, the first new national poll on the Republican side since
Ted Cruz won Iowa. We got this exclusive first look at these numbers
Basically what this poll is telling us, if this is an accurate snapshot of
the race right now, what this is telling us is that Donald Trump is still
in the lead but that momentum is going the wrong direction. That
trajectory is downward. He`s dropping like a stone. A nine-point drop in
a month is a big drop.
On the other side of the coin, Marco Rubio is the one rocketing up the
fastest. Marco Rubio has risen eight points in this poll since the last
time it was taken last month. Marco Rubio up eight points from December.
Ted Cruz who just won Iowa, he`s up three points from December.
So, this tells us that we`ve got on the Republican side a much tighter race
for the Republican nomination than we have seen in a very long time. This
is the smallest national lead that Donald Trump has had in any national
Republican poll since early November. And what this means, if this polling
is born out, if this is not some outlier, if this is how the race looks
now, this shows that Iowa matters, Iowa has really changed the race.
And believe it or don`t, this year the way it`s changed the race, the way
it matters is that Iowa turned out to be terrible for the guy who came in
second and turned out to be great for the guy who came in third. Go
But Iowa has shifted the race. And that has now led, perhaps inevitably,
to the front-runner in decline, Donald Trump, freaking out about Iowa and
claiming now that the whole Iowa contest was ruined by a terrible fraud.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: These are dishonest people,
these politicians. These are worst than real estate people in New York.
I`m telling you.
No, no, these are truly dishonest people.
Then he said, Ben Carson has quit the race – the day of the election. Ben
Carson – during the caucus. Ben Carson has quit the race.
And Ben didn`t quit the race.
In other words, Ben Carson quit and let me have your votes. What kind of
crap is this? What kind of people do we have running for office?
No, it`s honestly really, really dishonest and I think I know why. You
know why? Because he was born in Canada.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Like Canada explains lying. I have some relatives in Canada who
would like to talk with you about that. They`re very, very nice people.
After that, Donald Trump took to Twitter this morning and just let it all
out. He said on Twitter today, quote, “Ted Cruz did not win Iowa. He
stole it. That`s why all of the polls were so wrong and why he got far
more votes than anticipated. Bad.”
He also said, quote, “During primetime of the Iowa caucus, Cruz put out a
release that Ben Carson was quitting the race and to caucus for Cruz.”
Quote, “Based on the fraud committed by senator Ted Cruz during the Iowa
caucus, either a new election should take place or the Cruz results should
After that, all that today he went on “Boston Herald” radio and flat-out
accused Ted Cruz of fraud.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TRUMP: One of the most disgusting things I`ve ever seen. He said he was
quitting the race and to vote for him.
HOST: It`s absolutely unthinkable that he would do it, but it`s
presidential politics. Want to see if you`re going to consider filing –
TRUMP: It`s a total voter fraud when you think of it and he picked up a
lot of those votes and that`s why the polls were so wrong.
What he did is unthinkable. He said the man has just left the race and he
said it during the caucus.
TRUMP: So – and then when the clarification, when a statement was put out
by Ben Carson saying it`s untrue, they got the statement and they didn`t
put it out.
HOST: You I`m sure have a bevy of very fabulous lawyers wondering if
you`re thinking about filing a lawsuit against him for this.
TRUMP: Well, you know, the problem with politics, it`s so dishonest. I
mean, one of the problem we have is we have all these dishonest
politicians. Politics is so dishonest.
Did ever hear anything like that? A man has just left the race,
essentially they said he`s quitting the race, vote for me.
HOST: Knowing that –
TRUMP: And many people did that. And then he put out a clarification not
even clarification, he put out a statement that it wasn`t true. Meaning
Ben Carson, who`s a very good guy. He put out a statement that it wasn`t
true. Cruz got the statement and they never released it.
HOST: Mr. Trump, you talked –
TRUMP: Then they apologized – they apologized after the caucus was over,
the vote was over. They apologized.
Well, how does that help? He`s the nasty guy. He`s got no endorsements
from the people that work for him, United States senators.
Think of it, out of all these senators, not one has endorsed them. He
works with them. He`s a nasty guy. Nobody likes him. I thought this was
a step too far.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: What Donald Trump is so upset about is this e-mail that was sent
by the Ted Cruz campaign while the Iowa caucuses were getting under way on
Monday night. You see at the top, from the Ted Cruz campaign officially.
You see at the top there in the all caps. It says, “Press reporting,
Carson to take break after Iowa.” Says, “Dr. Carson will be making a big
announcement this week.”
This is the Ted Cruz campaign the night of the Iowa caucuses basically
telling everybody in Iowa that Ben Carson was dropping out of the race.
Quote, “Please inform any Carson caucusgoers of this news and urge them to
caucus for Ted Cruz instead.”
That e-mail from the Ted Cruz campaign on Iowa caucus night was followed up
by this from Ted Cruz`s most high-profile surrogate and endorser in the
whole state of Iowa, conservative Republican Congressman Steve King. You
can see from the time stamp here, he sent this out after 5:00 on Monday
night, so night of the Iowa caucuses as people were going out to caucus.
He sent this out, “Ben Carson looks like he`s out. Iowans need to know
before they vote. Most will go to Cruz I hope.”
This one also from Steve King, even more explicit. He`s talking about Ben
Carson here. He`s retweeting somebody else`s tweet about Ben Carson. He
says, “Skipping in New Hampshire and South Carolina is the equivalent of
suspending. Too bad this information won`t get to all caucusgoers.”
This really is the Ted Cruz campaign spreading a lie that Ben Carson was
dropping out of the race. And it turns out that news did get to Iowa
caucusgoers that night. It wasn`t true, but apparently Republicans all
over Iowa really did hear it thanks, to the Cruz campaign spreading that
I mean, one of the more perplexing thing was this strange story about Candy
Carson, Dr. Ben Carson`s wife. We heard she made up to the caucus site to
make the case that people should caucus for her husband, and instead of
being able to make her standard pitch she had to spend her allotted time to
convince everybody in the room at that caucus that Ben Carson was still in
the race, that he doesn`t dropping out because they`d been told he was
Well, today, Ben Carson convened reporters at the National Press Club to go
off on Ted Cruz about this. But, of course, he did so in his own quiet Ben
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s obvious there were people
in his organization not only knew about it but who carried it out, who
executed it. So, you know, we have to look at the obvious things that are
REPORTER: Dr. Carson, do you think it obviously affected the result, your
result in Iowa? What you`re describing?
CARSON: I think it did, yes. I was getting a lot of intelligence from a
lot of different places saying that I was going to do extraordinarily well,
and I do think it affected that.
There was one instance where my wife went to a caucus and my representative
had already spoken, but the Cruz representative had spoken and told people
that I was, in fact, not going to be continuing. And the people wanted to
actually hear from my wife. So, she was an unscheduled speaker and she
obviously disabused them of that notion and they were extraordinarily
happy, I must say, gave her a standing ovation, and I won that precinct.
Who`s to say what the outcome – I don`t think we can say what the outcome
is, but we can say whether or not we take something like this and just
sweep it under the rug and say, it`s just the way it is, or are there
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Dr. Ben Carson today speaking at the National Press Club.
The Ted Cruz campaign does admit that it spread this rumor, this false
rumor that Ben Carson was dropping out of the race. That they spread this
rumor ahead of the Iowa caucuses. They also admit that they used it as a
way to try to get Ben Carson supporters to switch their support to Ted Cruz
instead. They acknowledge they did that.
Senator Cruz has actually apologized for it especially because when Ben
Carson and his campaign heard about this rumor that Ted Cruz was spreading,
and they rebutted it directly, the Ted Cruz campaign really didn`t clear
the matter up with their supporters, they didn`t follow up these
announcements they made, these e-mails and tweets they made, they didn`t
follow them once they got the clarification, in fact that Ben Carson was
staying in the race.
So, it was a dirty trick. It was definitely a dirty trick. Not an
unprecedented dirty trick but it was a dirty trick.
Donald Trump who came in second to Ted Cruz in Iowa, he`s not just
complaining about this dirty trick now, he`s now suggesting he may sue, he
may bring some sort of lawsuit to attempt to nullify or overturn the Iowa
Republican caucuses because of what Ted Cruz did. That may be the way
Donald Trump is used to settling disputes like this when he feels like he
has been wronged, but this is not a zoning board, not arguing with the
Atlantic City utility district over the width of your sidewalk out your
This is – this is politics. And however dirty Iowa is, whatever lawsuits
are filed over dirty tricks in Iowa this year, we are already seeing that
Iowa as a political event has consequences.
Last night we saw that in very stark terms when we got to remove Mike
Huckabee`s portrait from our roster of Republican presidential candidates
as of last night. After Iowa, good-bye, Mike Huckabee. Poof.
Today, it was slightly more surprising news when we learned that we would
also to poof Rand Paul. It`s interesting Rand Paul quit today because Rand
Paul is not actually doing terribly in the grand scheme of things, at least
he wasn`t before he quit today. He`s not doing well, but he wasn`t
actively on fire like Mike Huckabee was.
For example, in this new PPP poll that we just got tonight, this exclusive
poll that we got, first national poll taken since the Iowa caucuses, Rand
Paul comes in in that poll at 5 percent. Not good. But it ties him for
fifth place with John Kasich and Jeb Bush. Puts him well ahead of Chris
Christie and Carly Fiorina and they`re not quitting. But Rand Paul is
One other reason it`s surprising that Rand Paul is quitting is that he
didn`t do that badly specifically in Iowa. Rand Paul got about 4.5 percent
of the vote in Iowa. That was good enough for a solo fifth-place finish.
His campaign had said ahead of Iowa that a top-five finish is all they were
aiming for in Iowa.
One senior adviser to the Rand Paul campaign said, quote, “the going end
goal was if we got a top five in Iowa, we would go on.” Well, Rand Paul
did get a top five in Iowa. He placed fifth. Today he decided to quit,
anyway. It`s a little weird.
Especially because the next is in New Hampshire, if there`s anywhere in the
country he should spark some interest it`s here in Live Free or Die New
Hampshire where there is a big libertarian subculture not just at jam band
concerts but also in state Republican Party politics.
If you are the son of Ron Paul, New Hampshire ought to be a state that you
are aiming at, that you`re excited about, that you`re hoping to do your
best in. It shouldn`t be a state you would so dread competing in it that
you`d quit less than a week before the primary. But Rand Paul has now
And, I mean, you can see how they justify it. He hasn`t polled in double
digits in the national poll since May. He didn`t appear to be on track to
make it into the next Republican debate this weekend. He`s the only
Republican presidential contender this year who has his own re-election bid
at home for the Senate to contend with alongside the presidential race.
There`s also just sort of the secret sauce of Rand Paul`s failure to thrive
this year, which is that he appeared to actually actively in a day-by-day
way hate campaigning for president. Republicans like to talk about being a
happy warrior, right, or campaigning for president with joy in your heart.
They talk about these sort of things.
We noted back in August that that was not the way Rand Paul seemed. We
noted back in August that the tenor of communication that Rand Paul`s
campaign was sending out to his own supporters, taken in part by a snapshot
of the subject lines of his campaign`s e-mails.
Look at the subject lines. “I`m afraid it has come to this.” “This is a
tough e-mail to write.” “This is horrible.” “This could get ugly.” “Am I
on my own?” “Please help.” “Has it all been decided? ” “Is this all
That was the tone from the Rand Paul campaign from the beginning, should
have been sort of a sign they warrant exactly enjoying themselves. There
was also an indelible moment, I think this is sort of have been lost in
history, but it really was the day the criminal trial started in Iowa in
the bribery case from Rand Paul`s dad`s 2012 campaign in Iowa, on the day
that criminal trial started in Iowa, the Rand Paul campaign decided to kind
of do a stunt to attract attention to something other than dad`s bribery
case, and what they decided to do was livestream an entire day on the
campaign trail with Rand Paul and that gave us all a chance to see a
political candidate just truly in the depths of his own human misery.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The next question is how
old is Rand Paul? The answer is, or the real answer, I guess, is 52, but I
sometimes feel about 10 to 20 to maybe to 30 to 40 to 50 years older after
a day of this.
The third question, most popular question from Google is, is Rand Paul
still running for president? And I don`t know, I wouldn`t be doing this
dumb (EXPLETIVE DELETED) livestreaming if I were. So, yes, I still am
running for president. Get over it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Oh, the joy in his heart.
And so when it comes time to poof most candidates off the roster of
Republican presidential candidates, it usually makes me a little sad for
them. You know, it`s the end of a dream or at least bad news from them
they`re being disappeared from the ranks of the contenders. In the case of
Rand Paul, I do not feel bad. In the case of Rand Paul, I have a feeling
that this feels great, that this is a really good day for him.
Rand Paul, congratulations. As of today, you are no longer running for
president which I have a feeling means to you that your life is about to
get a lot better because I think you`ve hated every single day of this.
So, congratulations, Rand Paul, with joy in all of our hearts, yay. Three,
two, one, poof.
The other Republican candidate who gets poofed off the roster today is a
man who actually won the Iowa caucuses last time around in 2012, Rick
Santorum. Rick Santorum, you ready? Three, two, one, poof.
It`s particularly satisfying to say that about Rick Santorum, poof.
Rick Santorum came in first place last time in Iowa. This time, he came in
11th out of 12. Not only does Rick Santorum have no money in the bank,
there are reports today that he`s somewhere in the range of about a half
million dollars in debt after this very, very failed presidential run this
Unlike Mike Huckabee who dropped out last night and Rand Paul who dropped
out this morning, Rick Santorum tonight decided to pair his announcement
he`s quitting the race with an endorsement of one of his rivals.
Tonight on the FOX News show hosted by my friend, Greta Van Susteren, Rick
Santorum announced he`s getting out of the race. He announced
simultaneously that he wants his zillions, rounding up to the nearest
zillions – he wants his supporters to instead support Marco Rubio. Marco
And maybe Marco Rubio will pay off some of his campaign debt in exchange
for the endorsement. I don`t know.
But I`ll just point out one really important thing about this year`s
Republican presidential race – which you cannot tell unless you look up
close. And that is that on paper, you would expect a guy like Rick
Santorum if he was going to make an endorsement, you`d expect him to
endorse a guy like Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz on paper is the same kind of
candidate, same kind of Republican as Rick Santorum, deeply socially
conservative, wrapped up tons of support and endorsement from hardcore
conservative leaders and groups in the country. He won Iowa on the
strength of that hardcore religious conservative base.
On paper, you think a guy like Rick Santorum would be throwing his support
to a very similar guy, Ted Cruz. That is not what happened today. Rick
Santorum endorsed Marco Rubio and not Ted Cruz.
And that brings us to the fact that there`s a lot about Ted Cruz that is
not what it appears on the surface. And the most important part of that is
next. Stay with us.
MADDOW: So, this is what the stage looks like. That`s the actual stage.
It`s not fake. That`s it.
Tomorrow night at this time, this bat time, this bat channel, this is going
to be the site of the first ever one-on-one debate between Hillary Clinton
and Bernie Sanders. We are literally building the stage and building the
set right now.
I mean, nothing against having Martin O`Malley along for the ride before
now, but now that governor O`Malley has left the race, what happens here
tomorrow night is going to be the first time Bernie Sanders and Clinton
have been on – and Hillary Clinton have been on stage together head to
head, hand to hand. It will be the two of them for the first time. And it
is also the last time these candidates will debate before the vote in New
You might remember as recently as last night, I was not sure if we were
going to have this debate, but look. It`s on. The moderators are going to
be Chuck Todd from “Meet the Press” and me.
And we`re going to have pre-debate coverage all day here on MSNBC. The
candidates will take the stage tomorrow at 9:00 Eastern. It`s very, very
exciting. I can barely contain myself.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: The common wisdom, but also the received well-learned wisdom about
presidential elections in the United States is that we absolutely know how
they start. At least on the Republican side. On the Republican side,
always every time no one candidate wins both Iowa and then New Hampshire.
Iowa and New Hampshire, that hasn`t happened in any competitive race on the
Republican side in modern history. So, the political history has taught us
anything, we shouldn`t get too excited about who just won Iowa because in
the short term that person is definitely not going to win New Hampshire and
in the longer term, that person is probably not going to win the
Rick Santorum stunned everybody at the 2012 Iowa caucuses. Only to earn a
goose egg in terms of New Hampshire delegates. Mike Huckabee finished more
than nine points ahead of everybody else in the `08 Iowa caucuses but then
finished a distance third in New Hampshire.
This year, is Ted Cruz like that? Maybe. We`ll see.
But here`s a really important difference between Ted Cruz on the one hand
and guys like Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum on the other. It is that
Senator Ted Cruz has a ton of money.
Take a look. At the time he had that huge victory in 2008, Mike Huckabee`s
campaign had roughly $2 million in the bank. He did have more cash on hand
than, like, Duncan Hunter. Who? But other than that, look at the rest of
the field. He was the most broke guy in the race. Show the rest of the
field. Come on. There we go.
When he won Iowa, Governor Mike Huckabee had less cash on hand than any
other candidate in the field other than Duncan Hunter. He was a full $10
million behind Rudy Giuliani at the time.
Flash forward to 2012 when Rick Santorum won the Iowa caucuses and, again,
he was broke compared to the rest of the field. In total, Senator Santorum
had $370,000 cash on hand at the time he won Iowa. That was a teeny tiny
bit more than Jon Huntsman, but look at how he compared to the rest of the
Look at how he compared to guys like Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich and Rick
Perry. Rick Santorum was $43 million behind Mitt Romney when he won Iowa
in 2012. And so, naturally, Mitt Romney went on to clobber Rick Santorum
Huckabee and Santorum did great in Iowa then they tanked everywhere else.
That`s in part because they had no money compared to the rest of the field
they were running against.
Now, this year, here`s Ted Cruz. These are the latest financial figures
disclosed by each of the Republican candidates and their respective super
PACs. Senator Ted Cruz sitting on $50 million, that`s more than Mitt
Romney had in 2012. That`s double what any of the other candidates have
with the exception of Jeb Bush. That`s it.
So, yes, Senator Cruz is a really, really hard right religious conservative
who just won Iowa, but he is a different kind of cat than the usual really
hard right religious conservatives who just want Iowa then they peter out
On the strength of money, alone, and money is not everything, just ask Jeb
Bush, but on the strength of money, alone, it may be fair to expect Ted
Cruz to be a more formidable challenger for the rest of the primary than
other Iowa winners have been in the recent past. So, yes, common wisdom`s
told us the winner of Iowa won`t win the nomination but this time around –
Joining now is Robert Costa, national political reporter for “The
Bob, it`s great to see you here in Manchester. Thank you for being here.
ROBERT COSTA, THE WASHINGTON POST: Great to be with you.
MADDOW: So, Senator Ted Cruz is sitting on a big war chest. Is that going
to make a difference for his prospects in New Hampshire?
COSTA: I think this is an away game for him. Iowa was his home game. He
returns to his home turf in South Carolina especially March 1st. Cruz is
running a long-term campaign. He sees the Super Tuesday primaries in the
Deep South as his place regardless of what happens to come back and maybe
get the nomination.
MADDOW: I guess we should have seen that telegraphed today when he spent
time in South Carolina today in addition to the time he spent in New
COSTA: And especially what we saw in the summer, Cruz spent many days
around the south. That was his buffer. If something happened bad or
didn`t do well early on, he was going to come back in the South.
MADDOW: And have the money to do it.
Senator Santorum is out now. He`s endorsing Marco Rubio. Senator Rand
Paul is out as is Governor Mike Huckabee. They are each not endorsing.
Now that the field is starting to thin out, do you think those kinds of
defections and the endorsements, whether or not they come, do you think
that`s going to meaningfully effect the race for people still in it?
COSTA: I think so. I think, two things together today, the Santorum
endorsement of Rubio, Ben Carson`s criticism of Cruz, there is evidence the
right is not consolidating around Cruz. For personal reasons, candidates
don`t like Cruz, the way he`s run his campaign. But also there`s
discomfort among some conservatives about Cruz.
You`d think at this point Santorum on the hard right would be getting
behind Cruz, but he`s not.
MADDOW: One of the reasons senators Rand Paul may have jumped now is
because it looked like he wasn`t going to make the debate this weekend.
There was also no kids table at that debate. Carly Fiorina is now
appealing to be let into that debate. It looks like she and Jim Gilmore
are the only remaining candidates who will be excluded from the stage.
COSTA: That would be quite a debate.
MADDOW: I would actually – the nice thing about going to that one is
they`d probably let you on the stage with them just to flush it out. But
for Carly Fiorina, I mean, is this do or die for her, she needs to get into
COSTA: It`s hard to see a path for Carly Fiorina at this point. She
doesn`t have a base in New Hampshire of any significance and this is a
state where you would think she would bring in some independents.
She has to be on the stage. She has to get some kind of momentum. But ever
since the Reagan Library, it`s been a fizzle.
MADDOW: In terms of Mr. Trump admitting he had a lousy ground game in
Iowa, that might have been why he lost, what does that mean for him in this
COSTA: It`s critical for him to have a ground game.
I spent all day, Rachel, at Trump`s headquarters trying to get a sense of
what they`re doing in this state to try to fix whatever happened in Iowa.
You see Trump has a lot of people doing phone banks. There`s not as much
Cruz is big on data. Big on money. Trump is old school get out the vote.
But there are a lot of white working class voters who live in New Hampshire
and people who from around the country who want to be part of the Trump
phenomena. The thing is if the Democratic race is seen as a Bernie win
here, do independents start to vote in the Republican primary? That`s what
all the campaigns are watching.
MADDOW: Robert Costa, reporter for “The Washington Post,” good to see you.
COSTA: Thank you.
MADDOW: Thanks a lot.
All right. We are live from where the debate is going to be tomorrow
night, live from the University of New Hampshire.
We`ve got much more ahead. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Really, this New
Hampshire primary is now down to a choice between me and Marco Rubio and
everybody knows it. Senator Rubio knows it. I know it. That`s why he`s
engaged me and why I`m engaged with him, because we know it`s down to a
choice between me and Senator Rubio.
I`m always hopeful. I`m hopeful the boy in the bubble will come out of the
bubble. If he does, the governor of New Jersey will be waiting for him.
We`re going to see if Senator Rubio can handle the heat this week. It`s
going to get hot in New Hampshire.
And I think we have a date Saturday night. I`m looking forward to it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: For a second straight day here in New Hampshire, Governor Chris
Christie is trying his very, very best, trying his hardest putting all f
his former federal prosecutor muscle behind it to try to make the boy in
the bubble nickname for Marco Rubio catch on.
He`s trying to make himself half of a top-tier fight between Chris Christie
and Marco Rubio to win New Hampshire. OK.
For his part, Marco Rubio does not appear to have noticed that that fight
exists, but can`t blame Chris Christie for trying to gin it up. On the
other hand, Iowa winner Ted Cruz appears to be very much in the fight with
the guy who came in second behind him in Iowa, and who now leads him in the
polls in New Hampshire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is no surprise that
Donald is throwing yet another temper tantrum, or if you like, yet another
Trumper tantrum. It seems his reaction to everything is to throw a fit to
engage in insults. And I understand that Donald finds it very hard to
The American people are not interested in this circus sideshow of insults.
You know, my girls are 5 and 7, and I got to tell you, Caroline and
Catherine are better behaved than a presidential candidate who responds by
insulting everyone every day when he loses.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Behave. Behave.
Oh, Founding Fathers would be so proud of the tone of the debate by now.
We got more ahead from New Hampshire and we`ve got more ahead from not New
Stay with us. Lots going on tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: There was discussion today during the congressional hearings
calling on the former emergency managers as well as yourself to testify
during those hearings. Is that something –
GOV. RICK SNYDER (R), MICHIGAN: Yes, the first thing is I haven`t even
been invited to testify, so if that comes about, then I`ll seriously look
at that issue.
REPORTER: Can you reiterate, if it has to come, you will show up?
SNYDER: Well, again, I haven`t invited. That`s a question I`ll address
when I am invited.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder`s absence was a point of contention
on Capitol Hill today in Washington as the first congressional hearing into
the Flint water crisis took place.
Democrats on the House Oversight Committee led by ranking member Elijah
Cummings of Maryland repeatedly asked why Chairman Jason Chaffetz hadn`t
invited Governor Snyder to come tell his side of the story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D-MD), OVERSIGHT CMTE, RANKING MEMBER: The problem
is that today we are missing the most critical witness of all, the governor
of the state of Michigan, Rick Snyder. He is not here. Governor Snyder
was a driving force behind Michigan`s emergency manager law which he signed
in 2011 and invoked to take over the city of Flint from its local elected
The governor handpicked appointees to run the city. And they decided to
use water from the Flint River. We asked the chairman to invite him today,
but he would not. He asked the chairman to give us a date in the future
for a hearing with Governor Snyder, but he would not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: In a letter to Chairman Jason Chaffetz today, Congressman Elijah
Cummings and all of his fellow committee Democrats invoked a House rule
that they say requires the committee to schedule another hearing and to
invite the witnesses that the Democrats want to hear from. They want to
hear from not only the governor, but also the three emergency managers that
he appointed to run the city of Flint since they were the ones calling the
shots as the lead poisoning crisis unfolded.
But for all the political and legal drama today, the thing everybody`s
going to remember, the thing that I think rattled Washington today about
this, was all the Flint residents and for former residents who packed the
hearing. They rode buses through the night to be there. They held vigils
They held one – there was one Flint mom turned reluctant activist who gave
formal testimony today at this contentious hearing. By the way, when you
hear her say MDEQ here, that`s Michigan`s state environmental agency.
Check it out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEANNE WALTERS, FLINT MOM: The citizens in Flint were assured for 18
months that the water was safe. My home was being tested because of the
discoloration of my water and the health issues my family was experiencing.
We fought the city and the state, saying there was something wrong and we
I started doing independent testing with Virginia tech and 30 tests were
done, tests that were performed in accordance to the LCR. My average was
2,500 parts per billion. My highest was 13,500 parts per billion.
Hazardous waste is 5,000.
Regardless of this information and the fact my son had lead poisoning, the
city and the MDEQ still continued to tell everyone the water was safe as
the EPA sat by and watched in silence. I urge you to help restore the
trust lost and protect all the citizens in the United States by never
allowing this to happen again. We need this to happen now, not ten years
from now. Thank you.
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: Thank you. Again –
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s Leanne Walters, whose family was poisoned and who
personally as a citizen did everything humanly possible to raise the alarm
on the lead poisoning crisis in Flint and to try to protect her family.
Congress for their part, they`re still thinking about whether or not they
might want to help. Water is still testing at thousands of parts per
billion in Flint homes. The lead pipes in Flint are all still in the
ground and there`s still no door-to-door distribution of clean water in
that city. Still.
Joining now is Congressman Elijah Cummings. He`s the ranking Democrat on
the House Oversight Committee.
Congressman Cummings, really appreciate your night tonight. I know you`re
a very busy man, thank you.
CUMMINGS: Rachel, I appreciate you and all the attention you`ve given to
MADDOW: Congressman, thank you. You made clear today that this was – it
was good that there was a hearing, but this is not the hearing you wanted.
This is not the hearing that you and your Democratic colleagues thought
needed to happen in order to get to the bottom of things here today. Do
you think that today accomplished anything? Did you learn anything?
CUMMINGS: Yes, I did learn some things.
But what this hearing did do, Rachel, was lay the foundation for future
hearings. As the chairman – I think we`ve gotten the chairman in the
position, and Republicans in the position to show their policies of
austerity, not investing in infrastructure, and not trying to make sure the
people of Flint were taken care of with regard to their water problems,
shows when this is what Republican success is all about, then the country
is in deep trouble.
So, we`re in a position now where the chairman has said as late as this
evening that we will probably be bringing in Governor Snyder, but we also
need to bring in, Rachel, the emergency managers. Darnell Early who is the
one who shifted the water to the source, to the Flint River, we sent him –
we encouraged and got the Chairman Chaffetz to send a subpoena to him and
his lawyer refused to take it. And then we decided that we are going to
send a marshal and another subpoena to him to have him appear, so now the
lawyer`s saying he will have him appear.
Keep in mind, Rachel, what they did here was you had the state government
taking over a municipality then going in calling themselves, saving money
and making things better by changing the source of water and they made
things worse. But I am convinced that the Republicans on the Hill are
embarrassed about all this. They know it`s wrong.
Congressman Kildee and Congressman Lawrence have been working with us very
closely from that area and we`re going to get something done. I will not
rest until these folks are made whole. In our country, we have a law of
jurisprudence that says if you break it, you better fix it. And that`s
what this is all about.
MADDOW: Congressman, I was very struck today, I was very – I have to say,
I was moved today to see so many people from Flint who rode buses all night
long in order to get themselves to D.C. to be there, show pictures of their
kids, show picture of the water in their houses.
So, that`s – that`s very moving. That very human level. Now, Congress is
considering whether or not to appropriate a bunch of money to try to help
We`re now hearing that there may be procedural issues for that in terms of
the way the Republicans want to stop it. We are hearing that maybe the
Democrats will have to filibuster the entire energy bill in order to try to
force that through.
Do you have any faith that Congress will act to try to help Flint in the
face of all those people showing up and bringing the problems to the
Congress that way?
CUMMINGS: Yes, I have faith, Rachel, but it`s going to take a lot of
pressure. It`s going to take an outside game and an inside game.
That`s why I complimented you because your coverage, a lot of people
commented on it today – and by the way, Rachel, I went out into the hall
and met with some of the people and they were so happy that somebody was
listening to them and people were crying. One lady got so upset when she
heard at the way they had been duped and the fact they still had this bad
water. She started crying and had to rush out of the hearing.
So, we`re not going to let them down. We`ve got a whole cadre of people,
the Republicans are saying they`re going to work with us and I`m saying,
yes, you know, show me, let`s make this happen. And Chairman Chaffetz has
said that he`s working on getting the governor to Washington.
But, again, Rachel, I do not want to have motion, emotion, and no results.
I don`t want this to be another Katrina where people look back and say, oh,
poor people from Flint, and yet they are – and our children are not made
whole, that there`s no fund established for all the damages that are being
done and that the pipes are not repaired. We have got to do all of those
The other thing, last but not least, during the hearing, I complained that
we had people in Flint that were paying for water that they could not drink
and could not wash in. And why were they paying for that water? While we
were in the hearing, the governor made a decision to try to give back 47
percent of all the money that the people had paid in bills. I told him on
TV that`s not good enough.
And so, we`ve just got to keep up the pressure. To answer your question,
if we keep up the pressure, we will get this done. I`m determined that
we`re going to do that.
MADDOW: Congressman Elijah Cummings, thank you – I can hear that this
story has wrapped its way around your heart the way it has around mine.
CUMMINGS: Rachel, because I know the damage that it does to children.
MADDOW: That`s exactly right, sir. Thank you. Thank you.
We`re going to be right back from the University of New Hampshire. Go,
MADDOW: So this where I am right now, not fake. That`s the actual stage.
Throughout the entire 2016 campaign on the Democrat side, the top two
contenders have never faced off one on one. They`ve never had a one-on-one
debate. The two of them are the only two people standing on the stage
answering each other`s questions. That`s going to happen here, right there
tomorrow night at 9:00.
MADDOW: We talked earlier in the show about how Ted Cruz is not like Mike
Huckabee and Rick Santorum, the guys who came out of Iowa with a win but
with no money, no ability to compete in future states.
Ted Cruz is not like them. He has a ton of money. Bully for him, scary
for anybody who doesn`t want Ted Cruz to win the nomination.
On top of all of that, though, the only other Republican candidate who has
more money in the bank than Ted Cruz, that guy may have had his worst day
yet on the campaign. That`s next and it`s ugly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will be a commander in chief that
will have the back of the military. I won`t trash talk. I won`t be a
divider in chief or agitator in chief.
I won`t be out there blowharding, talking a big game without backing it up.
I think the next president needs to be quieter, but send a signal that
we`re prepared to act in the national security interest of this country, to
get back in the business of creating a more peaceful world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Please clap. And they did. Eventually they clapped.
Jeb Bush still has a ton of money, but he got 2.8 percent of the vote in
Iowa. Things are not looking bright in please clap, New Hampshire.
After two straight and very full days here on the campaign trail here,
things aren`t looking good. That please clap moment is getting all the
play in the news today, but consider also that twice this morning in
Hannover as the former Florida governor was trying to jump start his
campaign, twice somebody turned the lights off on him. The first time went
well, laughed it off. The second time, enough already.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: And that`s my advocacy for you. Here in New Hampshire – someone is
sitting on that damn light again.
Here in New Hampshire you all elect presidents and I hope you elect someone
or nominate someone in our party at least that can win and can lead. I
hope you elect me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I hope you elect me. Maybe if there`s nobody else. Just think
about it. Or somebody like me.
If Governor Bush appears to have a confidence problem on the stump, part of
what`s eating him may be this problem that he has with his supposed friends
and supporters, a problem that is getting worse. In December, you might
remember a top donor at this super PAC told Politico.com that Jeb Bush
supporters, quote, “know they`re in a death spiral now. There`s no getting
out of this.”
Last month, other major Jeb Bush donors told reporters they were waiting
for the family hall pass to be allowed to jump to another campaign after
New Hampshire. One donor saying, quote, “I`m resigned to it being over
frankly, it`s really disappointing.”
Another donor quoting a Bush fundraiser telling him, quote, “Hey, I need
you to throw away money on Jeb out of loyalty.” These are his supporters.
And now, today, it`s Hank Greenburg who recently donated $10 million to Jeb
Bush. He`s now bragging to Bloomberg News about who he`s going to throw
his money to, next, once Jeb Bush quits.
Utah Senator Orrin Hatch has also endorsed Bush. He said today that he
now, quote, “leans toward Rubio.” Congressman Pete Sessions also endorsed
Jeb. He now says today, quote, that, quote, “the person who gets closest
to me is Rubio.”
Then, “The New York Times” ran this quote today from Senator Lindsey Graham
who endorsed Jeb Bush last month, after he suspended his own campaign.
This is from Jeb Bush today, quote, “If Rubio beats him badly in New
Hampshire Jeb is toast.”
Lindsey graham said this after being out on the campaign trail in New
Hampshire all day stumping for Jeb Bush with Jeb Bush. He`s probably
toast. With friends like these, who needs jerks who want you to lose?
I don`t know the future of the Jeb Bush campaign. Neither do you. There`s
a good chance he`s still in it for the long haul, he is well-funded for it,
if nothing else and besides, what else is he doing? He has no other job.
But if Jeb Bush does pack it up soon, if he`s toast as his friend and
endorser Lindsey Graham says, at least he can get started on finding some
new friends and maybe that for him will be something worth applauding.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: Please clap.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow for
debate night here at the University of New Hampshire.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, Lawrence.
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