The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 2/5/2016


Date: February 5, 2016

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Chris, this is nice. I mean, weird.

HAYES: We were joking about whether we`re going to pretend we`re in
different rooms of the shop and we decided that was deception.

MADDOW: It`s like –


MADDOW: Thanks, man. It`s been great to have you here.

And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.

Oh, my God. So, if you care about politics in this country, if you enjoy
politics, there`s nothing than better to be in New Hampshire in the last
frenzied days. The last run up to the New Hampshire primary, especially if
you have contested races but utterly close volatile races on both sides,
but utterly unpredictably close and volatile races on both sides.

New Hampshire is the greatest place to be in the world this time of year in
even number of years. That said, every election year is different. Por
ejemplo, this year, here`s the weird thing. In nature and in news, it is
very rare that some fairly static measure of how things are suddenly
increases by factor of 50. Something suddenly grows 50 times over. But
that is what has just happened this year in New Hampshire politics.

Last time around in 2012, by this time in the New Hampshire race, there had
been roughly $2 million worth of political ads run in the state, $2
million, all the campaigns. This time around it`s not $2 million. It`s
$100 million.

Bloomberg Politics reports that ad spending just in New Hampshire this
cycle so far is at roughly $100 million. That`s 50 times what it was in
2012. That`s not counting. That`s only through today. That`s not
counting what will be spent this weekend and Monday and Tuesday heading
into the primary itself – $100 million in this one little state.

And part of the reason for that is because there are more super PACs this
year and TV stations can charge super PACs more for each ad than they can
charge the campaigns. For example, in one local newscast, the Chris
Christie campaign was reportedly charged $700 for their ad while in that
same broadcast on that same station on the same day, the John Kasich super
PAC was charged $5,000 to run their ad. So, that`s part of it.

If you want know how you get a 50 fold increase in ad spending in one state
just since 2012, part of it is super PACs and the fact they have to spend
more money on their ads. Part of it is also some really, really, really,
really rich super PACs that are spending money so fast it`s all a blur
right now. There`s one particular super PAC that`s spending money, right
now, like it`s on fire.

I`ll give you an example. On one local station in the New Hampshire ad
market, there`s this one super PAC that the one super PAC spent more than
all of other the candidates combined from both parties. And so, of course,
you know who super PAC it is, right? It`s the super PAC supporting this
guy, Jeb Bush`s campaign, and the super PAC supporting him.

Jeb has more money behind him than anyone. They are spending more money
than anyone particularly here in New Hampshire. But here in today`s news,
are two really interesting signs that they might be sort of pulling the
fire alarm or at least they might be pulling into pull out all the stops

The first sign they are thinking this might be the end is that this is the
new ad they`re playing. I`m going to show you in a second. This is my
reasoning. If you`re Jeb Bush, you probably thought – you probably knew
you would run this ad sometime. I can`t help but think the idea was to run
this one last ad, last, really last as in November. Last as in oh, my God
there`s nothing else we can try. Let`s try everything.

They knew they would have to do this at some point. I`m pretty sure they
had no idea they would have to run this ad now before New Hampshire votes.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: The first job of the president is to
protect America. Our next president must be prepared to lead. I know Jeb.
I know his good heart and strong backbone.

Jeb will unite our country. He knows how to bring the world together
against terror. Experience and judgment count in the oval office. Jeb
Bush is a leader who will keep our country safe.

ANNOUNCER: Jeb Bush. Right to Rise USA is responsible for the content of
this message.


MADDOW: New super PAC ad for George W. Bush`s younger brother. If case
you didn`t remember him that way, Jeb Bush last stand is apparently him
running as George W. Bush`s younger brother. All hands on deck, I guess.

The other sign that the fire alarm may have been pulled on Jeb Bush and
people may have started moving toward their escape routes is this reporting
tonight from This is Alex Isenstadt of tonight
reporting that the Jeb Bush super PAC had planned to start a big ad blitz
in Virginia, Tennessee, Texas, Georgia, and Oklahoma starting on Monday.
They have now pushed the start dates to Thursday.

And you know what, that may be nothing at all. It may be nothing. I don`t
know, maybe just calendar change. It does have one really important
affect. Switching start day of those ads from Monday to Thursday
conveniently gives the Jeb Bush super PAC a chance to cancel those ads
without penalty and not waste all their money right up until Wednesday of
next week, which is the day after the New Hampshire primary.

So, theoretically, if Jeb Bush, say, gets completely smoked in New
Hampshire on Tuesday and quits the race on Wednesday, his super PAC,
because of this change, they can now cancel all those ads and get their
money back. They can save that money they otherwise would have lost on a
five-state ad blitz for candidate who just quit. As for why they would
want to save the money, I don`t know. Maybe it could be used for the Jeb
Bush vice presidential campaign. Maybe it`s for Marvin or maybe it`s for
Neil. I don`t know if there`s another Bush up right away.

So, the Jeb Bush super PAC appears to be readying its exit strategy.
There`s at least some signs of that.

The Ben Carson campaign reportedly laid off 50 people last night.

The Carly Fiorina campaign, what I can tell you is good news about the
Carly Fiorina campaign is that they have a really cute Carly red RV, which
I saw today in the flesh. I ran into it in Manchester, New Hampshire.
That`s the picture I took with my phone.

That`s a good sign that Carly Fiorina is still running. She`s at least
still got an RV. That said, Carly Fiorina is now definitely going to be
excluded from the Republican debate, which is tomorrow night on ABC. She`s
not going to be at the kid`s table for the debate this time because there`s
no kid table this time. It`s going to be seven Republican candidates on
stage and those seven will not include her. So, that does not bode well
for her future in this race.

Ranks have shrunk already on the Republican side just this week. They seem
poised to shrink again very soon.

Now, on the Democrat side, things are getting unpredictable.

You know what tracking polls are, right? Tracking polls are a different
kind of poll altogether. Tracking polls, what they do is pool a group of
people with a similar make up of every single day and then they keep
polling that same group of people. They poll them to see how their views
change overtime day by day.

So, UMass Lowell/7 News is doing a tracking poll in New Hampshire. And on
the day of the Iowa caucus on Monday, Bernie Sanders in that tracking poll
was ahead in New Hampshire by 31 points. He was at 61 and Hillary Clinton
was at 30.

Now, the end of that same week, five days later, look, Hillary Clinton has
cut that Bernie Sanders lead in half. Bernie Sanders is at 55 and Hillary
Clinton is at 40. Within a matter of days, she shrunk his lead in New
Hampshire, at least from this one tracking poll, from 31 down, all the way
down to 15 points.

Lest you think that helps you make sense of that race, though, consider
this alongside it for the Democrats. There`s also a new national poll out
by Quinnipiac University which shows at the national level, not here in New
Hampshire where the candidates are currently campaigning every second of
their lives, but nationwide, the new poll Quinnipiac poll shows that
Senator Sanders is closer to Secretary Clinton than he has ever been.

In this new national poll, Secretary Clinton is at 44. Bernie Sanders is
at 42. The last time this same poll was conducted in mid-December,
Secretary Clinton was leading him by 31 points. Now she`s leading him by
two. Senator Sanders closed that national lead two points.

So, after the Democrats final New Hampshire debate last night, which we`re
going to be talking about a little later in the show, honestly, it is super
exciting. It`s exciting, unpredictable, it`s even a little weird on the
Democratic side, super volatile. New Hampshire is starting to feel just as
unpredictable as Iowa ended up being this past week.

I had a chance today to see a few Republican events in New Hampshire which
was amazing, for all sorts of different reasons, including me getting my
first interview with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. I am a person who
works five days a week in New York, which is a state that neighbors New
Jersey – literally, I can see New Jersey from my house. But in order to
interview the governor of New Jersey, I had to go to New Hampshire in a
snowstorm. But I did get it, and we`re going to have more on that later.

But one thing I did not expect in following Republican candidates around
today and seeing all their buses and their RVs and chasing down the
candidates and all the rest of it, it was so fun. But the one thing I did
not expect to find on my very fun journey on the Republican campaign trail
today was punditry about the state of the Democratic race and the relative
strengths and weaknesses of Bernie Sanders versus Hillary Clinton.

I mean, in normal times, candidates go out of their way to leave the
punditry to the pundits, right? They like to talk about themselves. They
like to talk about whatever political enemy is most convenient for them to
be attacking at that moment. But candidates, as a rule, they don`t
handicap their own races. They don`t handicap other people`s races. They
particularly don`t handicap other people`s races in the other party.
That`s how it normally goes. Except today, that`s not at all what I found.


will narrow this field. You`re going to decide who the other 48 states
gets to pick from. We started with 17. We`re down to eight.

You`ll probably get it down to three or four or five. And so, you have a
great responsibility for the rest of the country. Choose wisely. Choose
wisely because if you do, we`ll have some good options to run against
Hillary Clinton and we may have chance to win.

But, you know, they`ve already made their choice. Bernie will win up here.
If Bernie can`t beat Hillary in Iowa, where there are nothing but white
liberal people, he ain`t winning any place else. I`m telling you right
now. He may win here Tuesday, but you`re getting Hillary Clinton on the
Democratic side because Bernie Sanders, maybe Minnesota, you know,
Wisconsin, you know, maybe a couple of those places, Bernie Sanders might
win in those places.

Also places filled with really good liberal white people. But other than
that, all this – you know it`s true, right? Come on. It`s true. Hillary
Clinton is going to win this nomination.

OK. Bernie can have some fun for a while. And he got his own ice cream
from Ben and Jerry. It`s great.

I mean, if nothing else comes out of this for Bernie Sanders, right, he got
his own ice cream of Ben and Jerry. It`s like Jimmy Fallon. It`s so

He`s like a 74-year-old Jewish guy from Brooklyn and he`s got his own ice
cream now for Ben and Jerry. How exciting. If he runs for president for
no other reason, he`s got that. It`s a good thing for him.

But, listen, as a Republican, I know. I can`t – we cannot get lucky
enough that the Democrats would actually nominate a 74-year-old socialist.
We can`t get that lucky, right? It can`t possibly happen. We`ll get
Hillary. So, we better nominate someone who knows how to fight.


MADDOW: That man is doing Democratic party punditry as part of his stump
speech, as part of his town hall shtick for Republican voters in New
Hampshire. I don`t know. I didn`t expect that. That was Chris Christie
today in Stratham, New Hampshire, doing a town hall. This was his 67th
town hall in the great state of New Hampshire.

And Chris Christie and John Kasich are really the two candidates who have
gone all in on New Hampshire. They are both campaigning in the same way.
They`re both trying to cast themselves as more moderate Republicans. They
are not ashamed of using the word moderate. I saw them both use it today.

They both talk about benefits of compromise and working with Democrats.
They are trying to seem as reasonable as possible and talk about other
Republicans as unreasonable. They are both campaigning exactly the same
way. They`re both talking about their executive experience as governors,
lots of anecdotes about their time governing and how practical they are and
how you have to do the hard work in the trenches with the real people on
the other side and get things done.

They are both tactically approaching not only – they are both approaching
New Hampshire in the same way. It`s strategically in terms of the way they
are trying to cast themselves and also tactically the way they`re doing it.
They are both doing dozen and dozens of town halls in the state. Neither
of them are leaving the state. They have been here for the duration. They
were here the day after Iowa, right?

John Kasich was even here the day of Iowa. Chris Christie today did his
67th town hall. John Kasich did his 98th which I went to this morning and
then and later today he did his 99th and then his 100th. Seeing these two
guys on paper, very similar guys, pursuing very similar strategies, through
very similar means. And it turns out when you see them in person, it`s
very easy to see in person why they are getting totally dissimilar

It`s very easy to see why one of them is a contender and could conceivably
win on in New Hampshire on Tuesday, at least place in the top three, and
the other one looks like that`s a pipe dream. On paper, they are exactly
the same. In person, no way. And that story is next.


MADDOW: In case you haven`t noticed, we moved to New Hampshire, and we
picked up a bar in the process. And in turns out we`re going to be staying
for the duration. Honey, this is my way of telling you I need to be back
in New Hampshire for Monday night show. We`re going to be doing Monday
night show here.

Tuesday night primary, if you want to plan your primary night right now,
Brian Williams and I are going to be anchoring MSNBC`s New Hampshire
coverage from New Hampshire, minus the bar, along with Chris Matthews,
starting at 6:00 p.m. Eastern on primary night. That`s Tuesday.

We`re also going to be doing our show on Monday night. We`re not leaving.
Where else would we like to be?

Also, I should tell you, coming up after the show tonight, at 10:00 Eastern
on MSNBC, we`re going to be re-airing the MSNBC Democratic candidates
debates. So, if you missed it, no excuses. It`s on after this hour
tonight. We`ll be right back.


MADDOW: So, one of the famously exciting things about New Hampshire is not
only does everybody in state get to meet all the candidates more than once,
if you want to, but New Hampshire voters also like to be unpollable. They
like to make up their minds at the last minute.

This frenzy of campaigning that you`re now seeing all over the state of New
Hampshire right now, that`s for a reason. There`s a reason that there`s so
much campaigning in the last few days. It`s because New Hampshire voters
are waiting to hear arguments that sway them right now in these last
moments before they go to vote.

That`s not a bug in the system. That is a feature. That`s how they do it
here, to a person. That was what I found from every single voter I talk to
today. Democrats and Republicans, even the ones who clearly now who they
liked and didn`t like, nobody I talk today told me they were 100 percent


MADDOW: Are you already a John Kasich supporter? Are you undecided?

JOAN HALL, UNDECIDED NH PRIMARY VOTER: A little undecided, but I certainly
enjoyed this today.

MADDOW: Who else are you thinking about?

HALL: All of them really.

MADDOW: So, are you John Kasich supporters already? Are you thinking
about it? What`s your –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very close to it.

MADDOW: Still a little undecided but you like John Kasich?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I want to go listen to Christie today.

MADDOW: So, you like Rubio, but you think that Kasich maybe got more of
what it takes.


MADDOW: What about Trump? What did you think of him?

ALBERT: I think it`s great because I`m so tired of politicians. It`s
refreshing to hear somebody speak about and not care what they say.

MADDOW: So you think you might vote for him?

ALBERT: I don`t know if I`ll go that far.


ALBERT: But I really have enjoyed him being in the race. Yes.

MADDOW: When will you make up your mind?

ALBERT: Probably the day before.

MADDOW: Or on the drive down.

ALBERT: I can walk across the street to it.

MADDOW: Oh, very good. So, you better decide before you go.

last night who was going to vote for Rand Paul and she said I know what I`m
going to do Tuesday. I think there`s a lot of us.

MADDOW: Who`s on your short list?

Christie and John Kasich.

MADDOW: Are you leaning towards any one of them? Those three, you`re
still deciding.

DONEGAN: I`m going to look at the three of them over the next couple of
days and then I will decide.

MADDOW: I mean, it`s Friday. You`re going to vote on Tuesday. When will
you know?

DONEGAN: Tuesday. In my case probably Tuesday.

JOHN KASICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`re fine. The country, we got
problems, wages. Not enough jobs, college debt. All these things we`re
talking about, whatever. Wall Street, whatever. OK. All these things are
things that need to be fixed. They`re really not that hard to fix.

We can`t keep drifting – drifting, drifting, drifting. I`ll tell you, I
think the basic strength of our country is good. You know, let`s talk
about the stock market for a second. People like, oh my God, the markets.
The market is always up and down.

Now, it`s reacting not to the basics but things they see. It`s almost like
the media and the 24-hour news cycle. You know, oh my God, you know,
that`s until tomorrow. Oh my god, again. That`s like the market. That`s
why there`s so much volatile.

What I can tell you, in my opinion, is the basics of our economy is very
strong. If you get into the market and you`re diversified and you wait,
you`ll always go up.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: So, how do you see leading to the world in a global sense
so we gain more stability? It`s a tinderbox now. And Obama has made it
far worse.

KASICH: Well, you know, a tinderbox.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Maybe not that.

KASICH: Yes. What I would – look, I served for 18 years on the defense
committee and I was in the Pentagon after 9/11. I remember when there were
15,000 nuclear warheads aimed at us. I remember as a kid, hiding in a
cloak room in 1962 when we thought that we were going to war with the
Soviets. So, we`ll keep it all in perspective.

MADDOW: This is John Kasich`s 98th town hall. He`s going to do two more
today. He`s going to get to 100 today. We`re at a country club in the
middle of a giant snowstorm.

I`ll tell you the thing that sounds very different from John Kasich when
he`s doing this is that everybody else on the Republican side is talking
about the country being on the verge of collapse, and verge of Armageddon,
if not Armageddon already. John Kasich, part of his message is like, you
know what, we`re OK. Fundamentals of our country are OK. The fundamentals
of the markets are OK.

He was asked by a voter concerned about unrest and threats from abroad. He
rejected the idea it`s a tinderbox in the Middle East or in North Africa.
He said, tinder box, hmm, I remember the Cold War. You have to keep it in

I think the word moderate is a difficult word at this point, but he`s
presenting a moderate view in terms of where the country is, whether or not
you agree with his prescriptions of where to go.

He`s saying things are OK. That`s a very foreign thing at this point in
the campaign, from all the other Republican candidates that he`d been


MADDOW: We really did have to brave the weather to get to that John Kasich
event. But I`m so glad that I went. I`m so glad I got to see because I
kept wondering what it was about John Kasich that seemed to be working for
him this New Hampshire.

He does seem to be doing a lot of the same things, talking a lot of the
same ways, presenting himself a lot of the same ways, as a lot of the other
candidates who are not getting anywhere in this state at all. I had
wondered before I got here, maybe it was the John Kasich super PAC ads that
had been playing so much in New Hampshire, maybe those ads were the secret
to his success somehow.

But you know what? They`re really $100 million worth of ads that have
played in New Hampshire so far this year, literally. I don`t think anybody
is going to tell you that any one ad, any one candidate`s ad are going to
change the course of the race. There`s just too big a stream of
advertising. I don`t think that`s it.

But look at the latest polling out today in New Hampshire. This is – in
the NBC/”Wall Street Journal”/Marist poll, in New Hampshire it feels like
the reason John Kasich is in double digits right there behind Marco Rubio
and Ted Cruz, it feels like because of how real and reasonable seeming and
relatable seeming and personally engaged seeming he is at these zillions of
events he`s doing in person all across the states.

John Kasich is not just giving you something to listen to. He`s not just
doing a performance like some of these guys are. He`s listening to his
people in the room. Asking them questions, drawing them out. Engaging
with why they are there, talking about them personally. I saw him do it.

You know, honestly, I don`t want to get too far ahead of this. John Kasich
is not Oprah. He is crusty and curmudgeoly in his personality.

But if some voters are looking for authenticity in their candidate, well,
just as a political consumer, as a political observer who`s been up to New
Hampshire for a lot of different primaries and seen a lot of these events,
I can see how New Hampshire voters see authenticity in John Kasich up here
in New Hampshire. I can see that when he`s in those rooms.

Now, in contrast – that`s next.



MADDOWE: So, we just finished up be Chris Christie town hall at Timberland
corporate headquarters in Stratham, New Hampshire, which is actually very
cool. The Timberland headquarters, they – it`s such a big employer and
they have lots and lots of candidates in and out of here all the time. And
so, it`s kind of just cool to be here. Also, nice to be inside because of
the snowstorm.

But watching Chris Christie immediately after watching John Kasich is
super-interesting because both of those guys, more than anybody else,
Christie and Kasich worked their heart out in New Hampshire, even to the
exclusion of working in Iowa. Christie did a little bit in Iowa, but
really, they gave up on Iowa in order to go all in on New Hampshire. And
they`re both a New Hampshire kind of candidate. They are both who you
would expect New Hampshire to go for if New Hampshire plays the type this

But seeing Kasich and then seeing Christie, I feel like I get why at least
the polls say the strategy is working for Kasich and not working for
Christie. They are giving you a similar message in terms of being willing
to work across the aisle, of having a more moderate approach that usually,
is attractive to New Hampshire voters, about being good at governance.
They both have little digs at Barack Obama but don`t spend all their time
doing that.

On the substance, they are very similar. But on the style, Kasich is
engaged one-on-one with people in a way that engages them not only with
whatever it is he`s saying but whatever it is their saying. He responds to
them individually.

He`s personable. He seems grouchy in a sort of likable way. In the same
way Christie is likable in a grouchy. But Chris Christie gets questions
but he does speeches thereafter, literally speech length riffs on whatever
he thinks is either funny or important about the point.

The lack of engagement from Christie, him just sort of performing while the
audience isn`t getting it was a surprise to me. I don`t know if it just
doesn`t work in New Hampshire and it works at home, or if it`s just seeing
him next to Kasich, he`s much better at this, but that was a surprise.


MADDOW: One benefit of seeing the Chris Christie event and the John Kasich
event back to back and in person today was being able to see the key
difference between them in terms of how well they are connecting with
people in these rooms that they are talking to all over New Hampshire.
John Kasich I think moved every single person who I saw in that room with
him. The Chris Christie crowd had people walking out.

The other unexpected and freaking awesome reason it was great to make it to
that Chris Christie town hall, fighting through the snowstorm across the
state, delayed because of the weather and the whole thing, the other reason
it was worth going and this is part of our drive today, is that for how
many years now has it been time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee on

We were the first national news out let to cover the bridgegate story in
New Jersey. We frequently, even in the New Jersey press get blamed or
sometimes credited, mostly blamed for having brought that story to a
national audience, which ultimately made it into a national scandal that
affected Chris Christie`s political standing on the national stage, and not
just bridgegate, though. There`s a lot of things about Governor Chris
Christie that we have spent a lot of time covering over a lot of years on
this show.

And, boy, have I asked for a lot of interviews with Governor Christie. We
have never even gotten a no from them. They just give us nothing. I think
when a phone call arrives on the cell phone, of anybody who works anywhere
near Governor Chris Christie, they see the first digits of our phone
numbers from our office and it`s like ignore, ignore. It`s like an
executive order.

I have never been able to get him or anywhere near him. Today, I finally
got my interview with Chris Christie.

That`s next. Stay with us.


MADDOW: Are you guys going to go see Christie?


MADDOW: Have you seen him before?



MADDOW: I`d love to see Chris Christie, too.

I`d love to interview Chris Christie, but that would be the end of the
world before that happens.





MADDOW: Governor, what`s –

CHRISTIE: Rachel, Rachel, how are you?

MADDOW: Nice to see you, Governor.

CHRISTIE: Good to see you.

MADDOW: I had to come – I`m here to get you. I couldn`t get you in New
York –

CHRISTIE: Well, Rachel, you beat the crap out of me for years. You expect
me to voluntarily come on your program. Come on.

MADDOW: Oh, come on. I expect you to. You love the back and forth.

CHRISTIE: Oh, no, with a lot of people. Maybe not for you.

MADDOW: Oh, come on.

CHRISTIE: What do you got for today?

MADDOW: I just wanted to know. This is not trying to beat the crap at
you, what`s the difference between a New Hampshire town hall and a New
Jersey town hall? What`s the different kind of questions that you get with
the different kind of interactions?

CHRISTIE: Well, it`s different, first of all, because in New Hampshire,
I`m talking about state-based issues, and here, it`s federal issues. So,
it become a totally different issue set to deal with.

In New Jersey, you`re talking about pensions and you`re talking about law
enforcement and you`re talking about K-to-12 education in a much more
granular way than you are in a national forum. But there`s also
differences like, listen, let`s try to difference between Iowa and New
Hampshire and New Jersey, because I give you a range, right? So, Iowans
are very laid back. Iowans sit there were their arms-folded across their
chest most of the time, barely kind of nod at you. And you don`t get any
feed off the audience at all.

Mary Pat and I are saying a number of times, like we`re sitting in Iowa
town halls, I couldn`t tell you if I was doing well, poorly or somewhere in
between. New Hampshire, more emotive, much more emotive, more emotion,
more reaction and very, very good questions. These are people who really
read up on the issues. They really understand what`s going on. And they
don`t ask you like the level one question. They ask you the level two
question, which is interesting.

New Jerseyians, I never have to wonder how I`m doing. I know immediately
when I walk in the room. New Jerseyians are even more emotive than the
folks in New Hampshire and are very emotive in midst of answers.

Like New Hampshire folks won`t interrupt except with maybe laughter. New
Jersey folks will interrupt you in the middle of an answer, like that`s
crap! You know, I`m like, oh, hey, thank you.

So, it`s range. The difference between the three are the range of
emotions, and I think of the differences in those states and their
cultures. And so, when you`re a politician, you don`t change, because if
you change, people note it. What you do is you just understand and not be
affected by it as much.

So, I`m not nearly as affected this New Jersey when someone would yell at
me as if someone yelled at me in Iowa.

MADDOW: But nobody yells at you in Iowa and New Jersey the way they do in
New Jersey.

CHRISTIE: Well, no.

MADDOW: It`s sort of why people love your town halls in New Jersey is the
fight. (INAUDIBLE) fight everyone.

CHRISTIE: Well, yes, I mean, listen, I`ve had a few of them in New
Hampshire. I`ve had a few where people come at me a little bit and I had
one the other day where a guy came at me a little bit and I came back at

I don`t know that the people love the fight in New Jersey. Remember, it`s
134 town halls I`ve done as governor. And most of them are relatively
sedate affairs. Most are like what you just saw here.

But when you`re in the New York media market, right, you have one of those
moments. You have a sit down and shut up moments. You have a “you`re a
liar, no, you`re a liar” moment, it gets played over and over again because
that`s the entertaining stuff.

Answering a thoughtful question with a thoughtful answer usually doesn`t
make programs like yours or others. I`m not talking about right or left.
I`m talking about just people are trying to find something to entertain
folks and put it on. I`ve never had a problem with that. It usually gets
rarely entertaining, one way or the other.

MADDOW: So, you think the fight`s play everywhere outside New Jersey?
There`s some question that maybe your style is a very New Jersey style and
that combativeness while might not play everywhere.

CHRISTIE: Well, then, how do you explain Trump? I mean, whatever you want
to say and have said about me over the years in terms of things that have
come out of my mouth, they`re a fraction. I never said I could shoot
somebody in the middle of Fifth Avenue and I wouldn`t lose a voter. I
never called Mexicans rapists and murderers. I never said ban all Muslims
from the United States.

I mean, you know, this is a guy, who if you believe the polls, is ahead not
only in New Hampshire but he`s ahead much more nationally than in this
particular state.

So, I don`t think that`s it. I think you all have always misread me in
that regard. I spent my time going all around the entire country being
asked by people to come and raise money for them. They don`t fight
somebody who people don`t like. Like, hey, you hate Christie, why don`t
you come pay (INAUDIBLE) to come and see him, you know? You know, that`s
not the way it works.

So, I think that folks have always misunderstood that part of it. I`ve
always felt like I am who I am. I`m some people`s cup of tea. Others I
won`t be. But I never found that to be regional. I found that to be more
philosophically based. Do they agree with my philosophy and what I`ve
done? There`s always some sort of kind of ethnicity thing to it too.

MADDOW: What do you mean?

CHRISTIE: Listen, I – my point is, that like for some folks, if you`re a
Northeastern person who seems to least bit ethnic in any kind of ethnicity,
they always think you can`t possibly be conservative, right? So, you got
do overcome that a little bit when you`re somebody who comes – I`m
talking about whether it`s me or there`s Rudy Giuliani or there`s George
Pataki, whoever it is, they will think, even though you may have governed
conservatively, they may say, well, yes, he`s from there. So, he can`t be
real conservative.

REPORTER: Is that Trump`s problem too?

CHRISTIE: No, no, I don`t think – listen, I don`t – whatever Trump`s
problems are, they`re Trump`s problems. Trump is a Donald as I`ve known –
I`ve said, I`ve known him for a long time. He`s a unique figure publicly
well before he ran for president.

And so, whatever Donald`s problems in his assets are, Donald`s problems in
assets. I don`t think they apply in the same way to the rest of us who are
involved in politics. It`s much different.


MADDOW: That`s Governor Chris Christie today.

See, Governor, we can have an interesting conversation, you and I. I come
to cover you as a politician. Not to bury as some sort of cartoonish
villain. We can do this again sometime. Be not afraid. That went fine.

Even if I asked you hard questions, it still would have been fine. You
know it would have. Come on. Come on. Come on.

Governor Christie is at crucial moment here in New Hampshire. This is
literally the weekend when he needs to be peaking. Instead, sadly for him
and his campaign, he does appear to be heading in the other direction right
now. The brand new NBC/”Wall Street Journal”/Marist poll from New
Hampshire shows Governor Christie at 4 percent. That`s down from the same
poll last month when he was at 7 percent, and everybody thought maybe
double digits were in sight for him. Double digits are not in sight for
him, at least not yet.

The governor also said today, he thinks that New Hampshire voters will
winnow the Republican field down to three, four, five candidates. Right
now, Governor Christy is not polling in the top five. He`s number six.

And, honestly, you can see how hard he`s working. He`s dong everything he
can here in New Hampshire. He`s using all of his considerable charm and
political talent. He`s got giantly full schedule. He`s doing every single
thing he can.

Governor Christie today described his plans to go home after Tuesday, to go
back to New Jersey after New Hampshire votes on Tuesday night. He said
he`s going to spend just a couple of days in New Jersey at home before he
goes onto South Carolina.

Realistically, though, it remains to be seen if there`s going to be any
South Carolina in Chris Christie`s future unless he has a very late and
rapid turn around in his fortunes here. New Jersey, you may be getting
your governor back. Get excited.


CHRISTIE: I got to make my way through the snow. It`s going to take me a
little longer. Good seeing you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Let`s do this again.

CHRISTIE: You got it.



MADDOW: So, Ben Carson did not drop out of Republican race during the Iowa
caucuses on Monday night. He did not. It has become a legitimate scandal
in the Republican race, though, that Ted Cruz`s campaign said that he did.

The first thing we knew about these tweets from Ted Cruz`s high profile
surrogate and endorser, Republican Congressman Steve King. As the Iowa
caucuses were getting under way on Monday night, Steve King did this,
“Carson looks like he`s out. Iowans need know before they vote. Most will
go to Cruz, I hope.”

The tweets we found out first and then we found out about this e-mail under
the official Ted Cruz campaign logo. It also went out on Monday as the
caucuses were getting under way. Ben Carson taking time off, quote,
“please inform any Carson caucus-goers of this news and urge them to caucus
for Ted Cruz.”

We then learned from Ben Carson himself that, at least according to him,
when his wife showed up at one Iowa caucus Monday night to make a pitch for
her husband, a Ted Cruz supporter had spoken first and that Ted Cruz
speaker had just told that precinct that Ben Carson was dropping out of
race. So, Ben Carson supporters should feel free to support other people.

Ben Carson`s own wife had to tell them no, no, no, my husband is still
running. He`s not dropping out.

After all of that, we heard Ted Cruz apologize to Ben Carson and say this
was not some planned organized dirty trick. It was a regrettable mistake.
He said a staff error. He said his political team forwarded a misleading
story, but, quote, “Subsequently, the Carson campaign put out a statement
clarifying that Dr. Carson was not suspending his campaign”, and the Cruz
team did not forward that statement to supporters as well. According to
Ted Cruz, quote, “That was a mistake.”

Now, we know it was not just a mistake. It was not just some forgettable
staffers forgetting the loop back around to that story, forgetting to dot
the I`s and cross the T`s on this. Now, it realy does appear to have been
a dirty trick carried out on a wide and deliberate scale by the whole
apparatus of the Ted Cruz campaign in Iowa, because now, a right wing
website has published what appeared to be sort of phone bank style calls
from the Ted Cruz campaign on caucus night literally spreading this lie
across the state of Iowa about Ben Carson. Spreading this lie that Dr.
Carson was dropping out of the race, so Carson supporters should feel free
to defect to another candidate, preferably Ted Cruz.


TED CRUZ CAMPAIGN VOICE MAIL: From the Ted Cruz campaign, calling because
you`re a precinct captain, and it`s just been announced that Ben Carson is
taking a leave of absence from the campaign trail. So, it is very
important that you tell any Ben Carson voters that for tonight, that they
will waste a vote on Ben Carson and vote for Ted Cruz. He is taking a
leave of absence from this campaign. All right? Thank you. Bye.


MADDOW: This is going to be an entry in the textbook where they teach bad
kids with good grades the dark art of political dirty tricks.

This is nasty. This is a nasty dirty trick from Ted Cruz and he got caught
dead right. Because he`s Ted Cruz, he doesn`t have a friend in the world
in Republican political circles so nobody is giving him a hand up or an
excuse on this. He has got caught.

And the question is, is this going to go down in history as sort of just
dirty tricks as usual? You know, politics ain`t bean bag and all that?

There does seem to be a legitimate animus toward Ted Cruz on some other
issues as well from the people he`s running against on the Republican side.
But particularly on this, on this thing he did with telling his supporters
that Ben Carson was out of race, wow do Republicans seem mad at him about

What is the best context for understanding whether this something like this
really could something like this could hurt Ted Cruz or whether it will be
seen as politics as usual?

I know who to ask that question, and that`s next.



TED CRUZ CAMPAIGN VOICE MAIL: Hello, this is the Cruz campaign with
breaking news: Dr. Ben Carson will be planning to suspend his campaign
following tonight`s caucuses. Please inform any Carson caucus-goers of
this news and urge them to caucus for Ted instead. Thank you. Good night.


MADDOW: That was a voice mail left by someone with the Ted Cruz campaign
in Iowa right at the start of the Iowa caucuses on Monday night.

Ben Carson was not dropping out of the race, in fact, but the Cruz campaign
engaged a big effort to get word out to precincts that Ben Carson was
leaving the race. He wasn`t leaving the race.

The question is, is this dirty tricks as usual? Or is this worse than the
kind of stuff we have seen in the past?

Fortunately, I have with me the perfect person to ask about this.

Joining us now is MSNBC political correspondent Steve Kornacki.

Steve, thank you.


MADDOW: You`re a good student of dirty tricks.

KORNACKI: Ha! Is that a good thing?

MADDOW: Well, you have good anecdotes about them. I know this is as your
pal. I have been – it is dirty trick what Ted Cruz did in Iowa to Ben
Carson, but I have been struck how mad other Republican candidates and
campaigns are about it. There is legitimate anger about it and people are
not faking it.

Is that because people don`t like Ted Cruz or is this in the grand scheme
of things more beyond the pale than your usual political (INAUDIBLE)?

KORNACKI: Yes, I mean, I guess the standard I use for judging dirty tricks
is you think about to the South Carolina primary in 2000 is George W. Bush
and John McCain.

MADDOW: Right.

KORNACKI: In all of the sort of underhanded behind the scene stuff that
was taking place that under mind John McCain for Bush allying people.

MADDOW: That he was secretly, he`d been crazy and brain washed and he had
a black child he didn`t own up to.

KORNACKI: Right. To me, that`s the all time worst at the presidential
level. I saw a lot worst in New Jersey, I say that. At the presidential
level, that`s the worst. I wouldn`t put this in that league. And I do
think a lot of the reaction has to do with like, Cruz, A, has a target on
his back, having just won Iowa, and B, Republicans don`t like the guy in a
lot of cases. So, they`re looking for excuses to go after him.

MADDOW: I feel like that`s an important part here because if you were seen
as a popular guy, if you`ve exchanged favors with people, exchanged
pleasantries with people, sometimes A, be more forgiving about what you
did, they`re more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt, and they may
back you up.

Nobody is backing him up. Nobody is throwing him a life line on this at
all. Does that tend to affect whether or not something like this sticks as
a legitimately bad act?

KORNACKI: I think – look, here`s where I think it sticks. Ben Carson
seemed genuinely aggrieved by this, genuinely offended by this.

Here`s the thing – the Carson campaign, clearly the trajectory was not and
is not good. It doesn`t look like Ben Carson has much of a chance in this
thing. When the initial report came out on CNN that suggested maybe he is
going to Florida, people are speculating he`s getting out of the race, it
seemed plausible he would be getting out of the race.

Here`s the thing, from what we can tell right now, this has fired up Ben

MADDOW: Right.

KORNACKI: Ben Carson is so angry at Ted Cruz he wants to stay in now and
the whole reason the Cruz campaign was doing was Ben Carson getting 5 or 10
percent of the vote was such a threat to Ted Cruz in Iowa, the margin so
small, he needs every evangelical vote he can get.

MADDOW: Those are the votes he needs specifically.

KORNACKI: Every vote for Carson is a vote being taken from Cruz. If
Carson stays in this thing to South Carolina, South Carolina is the next
key state for Ted Cruz. Ben Carson gets 6 percent in South Carolina.

MADDOW: It`s not enough to make him a contender but it`s not enough to
maybe rub Ted Cruz.

KORNACKI: Absolutely. Because this is the thing –

MADDOW: It`s fascinating.

KORNACKI: – the model for Ted Cruz here is, it`s what Mike Huckabee
couldn`t do in 2008, and Rick Santorum couldn`t do in 2012. You win Iowa
and you parlay into South Carolina. The story with Huckabee is he was so
close to beating John McCain in South Carolina. He was undercut by Fred

MADDOW: Uh-hmm.

KORNACKI: Fred Thompson stayed in the race, got –

MADDOW: Not a contender, but just enough to gut the other guy.

KORNACKI: Exactly. And that is the threat of Ben Carson right now. So,
if this keeps Ben Carson in the game a few weeks longer than he was going
to be –

MADDOW: Because of sheer anger, because of sheer disgust.

KORNACKI: I`m going to show that guy.

MADDOW: You know, people wonder why we love politics and then stuff like
this happens.

KORNACKI: It`s so personal.

MADDOW: It`s Shakespeare. It`s perfect.

MSNBC political correspondent Steve Kornacki – I`m sorry that you`re not
wearing your University of New Hampshire sweat shirt. We`ll see about
getting a new for the rest of the weekend.

KORNACKI: Oh, this weekend, plenty of time for that.

MADDOW: All right. Well done.

We`ve got more ahead from New Hampshire. Stay with us. We`re live from
Manchester. We`ll be right back.


MADDOW: Update for you. Things are moving fast now. Early this hour we
reported on Jeb Bush`s older brother, former President George W. Bush
starring in a new super PAC ad for Jeb Bush running now just ahead of the
New Hampshire primary.

This is like a closing argument last possible thing you can do ad, and we
all knew Jeb Bush would have to call in this favor from his older brother.
We did not know that he would be calling it in this soon.

Well, again, as of the beginning of this show we knew that commercial was
set to start running today in the great state of South Carolina. Now, we
have an update, straight from the reporter who got the exclusive on that
story, “Politico`s” Alex Isenstadt. He now reports that that commercial
the George Bush ad is going to be airing during the Super Bowl because why

Jeb Bush`s campaign has more money behind it than anyone, they`re spending
more money than anyone and how better to truly blow torch a pallet of money
than expanding your ad buy for your George W. Bush “My Brother” ad to
include the Super Bowl.

Wow. There you have it. Somebody`s media`s buyer is getting a Rolls Royce
next year.

That does it for us tonight. We will see you again Monday from New

Now, it`s time for the Democratic candidates debate.


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