The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 2/8/2016
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: February 8, 2016
Guest: Hillary Clinton
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: All right. That`s “ALL IN” this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now in another bigger, quieter room.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Awkwardly very near by but also separate.
MADDOW: Pretty much how it goes from here on out. Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: Take it away.
MADDOW: Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour from what is our
fancy election headquarters here in downtown Manchester, New Hampshire.
I`m not sure how any of this stuff works yet. but let`s give it a go.
Up north in Conway, New Hampshire, it`s about two hours north of where we
are tonight in Manchester, up in Conway, New Hampshire, they`ve got a local
paper called “The Conway Daily Sun”. And every four years, presidential
candidates trek up to Conway, New Hampshire, to seek the endorsement of the
editorial board of “The Conway Daily Sun”.
While the candidates are there, they sign the refrigerator. Seriously.
Interesting New Hampshire tradition: candidates sign the fridge in the
staff break room at the local paper. They`ve taken to calling it “icebox
one” like Air Force One.
“The Conway Daily Sun” says they`ve now got 31 presidential candidate
signatures on their fridge, including a few two signers like Ron Paul and
Hillary Clinton. I think Bill Richardson signed it twice.
Everybody goes to Conway to try to get the paper`s endorsement. It`s great
New Hampshire tradition even when it doesn`t go great for the candidate.
This year in December, after presidential candidate Marco Rubio went up to
Conway to meet with the editorial board there, Marco Rubio did what you do.
He sat down with the editorial board. He signed the fridge. Apparently,
he wrote “thank you for your great questions”.
But then the paper wrote up what happened at the Marco Rubio editorial
meeting. Quote, “We have roughly 20 minutes with him on Monday. And in
that time, he talked about ISIS, the economy, his political record and his
background. But it was like watching a computer algorithm designed to
cover talking points. He said a lot but at the same time said nothing. It
was like someone wound him up, pointed him toward the doors and pushed
play. If there was a human side to the senator, a soul, it didn`t come
That was December.
See, a gaffe is just a gaffe. Bad moment is a bad moment. An off night is
just an off night. When that gaffe, that bad moment, that off night
confirms what people already worry about you, when it proves the point
about what people are secretly concerned about when it comes to you, that`s
when these things aren`t just a gaffe or an off moment or a bad night,
that`s when these things stick.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS: An executive or former executive of a state, why is
that person not better positioned than you are?
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The presidency of the
United States is a unique office. It`s not like being a senator, but it`s
not like being a governor either.
JOHN DICKERSON, CBS: I guess the question is, have you been in a position
where you make tough calls. Where there are real consequences. And where
do you get that strength from, if you were to make the presidency, where
you`d be in those decisions all day long?
RUBIO: It`s true the presidency is not like being a U.S. senator but it`s
also like not being a governor.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: So, let me ask you, what do you consider your
biggest legislative accomplishment?
RUBIO: First, let me say the most important job of president is commander
in chief. Being president is not like being a senator, but it`s not like
being a governor either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That anti-Marco Rubio ad was run by the Chris Christie campaign
ahead of this weekend`s debate. They posted that ad on Friday before this
happened at the debate the next day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUBIO: And let`s dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack
Obama doesn`t know what he`s doing. He knows exactly what he`s doing.
But I would add this, let`s dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama
doesn`t know what he`s doing. He knows exactly what he`s doing.
And this notion that Barack Obama doesn`t know what he`s doing is just not
true. He knows exactly what he`s doing.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There it is. There it
is, the memorized 25-second speech.
RUBIO: I think, anyone who believes that Barack Obama isn`t doing what
he`s doing in purpose doesn`t understand what we`re dealing with here. OK?
This is the president – this is a president who is trying to change this
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Misspelling the word potato only mattered for Dan Quayle because
people already were worried that maybe Dan Quayle wasn`t the sharpest
pencil in the case, right? Seem to confirm that suspicion.
Same goes for Rick Perry and his oops moment in that debate in 2012. You
know, Ted Cruz did basically the exact same thing in a debate this year.
Ted Cruz at a debate this year forgot which agencies he wanted to cut and
said he would cut the Department of Commerce twice. That didn`t stick to
Ted Cruz because when he did it, it didn`t confirm anything that people
suspected about Ted Cruz.
People think that Ted Cruz is smart. So, it didn`t stick to him.
It did stick to Rick Perry when he did the exact same thing because there
was a preexisting worry about Rick Perry maybe being a little dim. These
things stick to you not necessarily because of how bad they are in absolute
terms. They stick to you when they confirm what is already feared about
And people covering Marco Rubio and people who are close to Marco Rubio
have been wondering for years now. They sometimes been putting in print
their fears that maybe he`s a computer program. That maybe he`s a robot.
That he`s fake. He memorizes things and repeats them without understanding
them. That he can only perform scripted tasks, and beyond that, he
And so, Saturday night`s debate, what Marco did under that withering
question from Chris Christie at Saturday night`s debate – at least the
past prologue, that is likely to stick – at least for a while.
This was the front page of “The Boston Herald” the morning after the
debate. And, yes, it`s a Boston paper, but “The Boston Herald” and “The
Boston Globe” both have big readership in New Hampshire, particularly in
southern New Hampshire which is where Marco Rubio needs to perform best.
So, “Choke!” That front page has got to hurt.
What`s got to hurt even more is photocopies of that front page being
slipped under windshield wipers at Marco Rubio events in New Hampshire ever
since “The Boston Herald” came out. Jeb Bush super PAC is being blamed or
credited with that guerilla distribution method of the front page of “The
Boston Herald” at Rubio events ever since.
The way the Jeb folks feel about Marco Rubio, though, we`re starting to
learn that may be mutual. “The Associated Press” flag new FEC filings
today that indicate at the last minute before tomorrow`s New Hampshire
primary, the Marco Rubio super PAC has cancelled a half million dollar of
Ted Cruz ads and instead replace them with anti-Jeb Bush ads.
And what that`s about? I don`t know. They never totally level with you
about what these things are about, right? Maybe that`s just driven by
mutual antipathy. Maybe it`s revenge for the windshield wiper things with
“The Boston Herald” thing. Maybe it`s strategic based on New Hampshire
polling right now. Maybe Jeb Bush is doing better than anybody expected
and Marco Rubio decided he needs to get taken down a notch. We don`t know.
We don`t know in part because the New Hampshire polling right now makes
about as much sense as a big burlap bag full of angry minks, or angry
fisher cats, since we`re in New Hampshire.
But look at that latest Republican polling. It`s inexplicable. Monmouth
says, for example, John Kasich is in second and Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush
are tied for third. Franklin Pierce University, “Boston Herald” says Ted
Cruz is second, Jeb Bush is fifth, and John Kasich is in between.
One tracking poll has Jeb Bush tanking opinion he`s only a point above
Carly Fiorina. Another tracking poll has Jeb Bush tied with John Kasich in
double digits with a shot at second place if the wind blows the right way.
The polls on the Republican side are just nuts right now. They all say
something different, expect for one constant. They all show Donald Trump
in the lead, and by kind of a lot, 15 to 20-point range. Other than that,
the Republican polls right now are chaos. And I got to say even that one
constant Trump being in the lead, remember, he was leading in the polls in
Iowa before he came in second place there.
So, who know? Who knows? Anybody who wants to take your bet on what`s
going to happen on the Republican side, don`t do it.
On the Democratic side, there is also a clear leader in the polls, although
it`s less chaotic. Senator Bernie Sanders has led in New Hampshire in
every poll consistently since early December. Daily tracking polls over
the course of the last week show that former Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton is steady cutting into Senator Sanders lead with each passing day
here in New Hampshire.
But if the polls are to be believed, he`s too far out ahead for her to
catch him by tomorrow.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When we begin this
campaign about nine months ago, we were at 3 percent in the national polls
and despite my neat hairdo and “GQ” type of outfit, the media and the
pundits didn`t quite consider us a serious candidacy. In fact, the word
“fringe” was used a couple of times.
We have come a long way in the last nine months.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
In Iowa, we started off 40, 50 points behind. We ended up a virtual tie.
New Hampshire we started 30 points behind, and I think we`re going to do
just fine tomorrow.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Bernie Sanders speaking today here in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Also today in Manchester, in her last national interview before New
Hampshire votes, I got a chance today to ask Secretary Hillary Clinton
about running behind Bernie Sanders in the polls right now and about her
campaign`s increasingly harsh criticism of the senator`s campaign and I got
to ask her about some provocative reporting that the Clinton campaign might
be planning major shake up in their operations.
MADDOW: Madam Secretary, thank you so much for this time.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My pleasure to see you again.
MADDOW: So, we`re very close to voting in New Hampshire.
CLINTON: We are.
MADDOW: The polls show Senator Sanders still significantly ahead. If you
do not win in New Hampshire, does that imply that there`s going to be – or
in your mind, does that mean you need to change course at all? Will that
mean your campaign going ahead will be different than leading into this?
CLINTON: You know, Rachel, I`ve always had a different view on this than I
think maybe some others have. I always knew Iowa was going to be really,
really hard. And we won, narrow, but a win is a win.
MADDOW: One quarter of one percent.
CLINTON: Yes, I`m always happy about that. I always knew that Senator
Sanders been in public life next door for 25 years, he`s on the Congress
for that long, he had a tremendous amount of familiarity and a sense of
really belonging in the area.
So, I always knew this was going to be hard. I feel good about the
campaign we waged here. I think we have an uphill battle. We`re going to
battle it until the last votes are counted and we`re going to turn around
and head off for the next contest.
MADDOW: Politico.com just this afternoon just published something that
says that there`s changes in the works. There`s always these sort of
campaign gossip stories. But they are say – they say they`re citing a
half dozen people with direct knowledge of the situation. Their lead is,
“Hillary and Bill Clinton are so dissatisfied with their campaign`s
messaging and digital operations, they`re considering staffing and strategy
changes after what`s expected to be a loss in Tuesday`s primary.”
Are you planning some sort of shake up like that?
CLINTON: Yes, somebody showed that to me. I have no idea what they are
talking about or who they are talking to. We`re going to take stock. But
it`s going to be the campaign I`ve got.
I`m confident in the people I have. I`m very committed to them. They`re
committed to doing the best we can. We`re going to take stock. What
works, what doesn`t work?
We`re moving into a different phase of the campaign. We`re moving into
different geographic areas. So, of course, it would be malpractice not to
say, OK, what worked? What can we do better? What can we do new and
different that we have to pull out?
MADDOW: President Clinton was here with you today as was your daughter.
President Clinton did his own event yesterday which made some headlines,
when he had some very harsh criticism for Senator Sanders campaign,
essentially calling Senator Sanders and his campaign hypocritical,
dishonest, calling out sexism from Senator Sanders supporters. Although
Senator Sanders have called out his on supporters for sexism and said he
will not tolerate it.
Is President Clinton going further than you would in those criticisms for
the Sanders campaign or do you also share the view that he`s been dishonest
CLINTON: Well, here`s my view, and I think Bill was really defending my
supporters because we know a lot of them are being harassed online, they`re
being harassed at our events. They are being really treated badly.
Look, I`m all for people who are for my opponent. I think it`s great to
bring in as many new, young people as possible. I want people treated
respectfully. I think that`s part of what he was talking about.
I have been concerned about tone of his campaign over the last weeks. We
were running I thought a good campaign on issues. We`re getting to the
point we have to draw contrasts. That`s natural.
You know, I have a health care approach. He has a health care approach.
We may have the same goal, but we have a different view about how we get
there. That is fair game, as it should be.
But there has been a constant undercurrent that I said in the debate last
week, was a kind of attack by innuendo, insinuation, kind of artful smears.
And I just said enough is enough. You know, if you have something to say
to my face, say it. If you can point to any event, any vote, any view that
you think has been influenced by any donation I`ve ever made, call it out,
Then, they put up the bankruptcy bill. I answered that yesterday on the
And so, I want this innuendo to stop. You know, let`s just be honest with
Look, Senator Sanders has taken money from Wall Street. He took it through
the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee. That`s what we do. That doesn`t
mean his views are compromised. It doesn`t mean my views and it doesn`t
mean that President Obama`s views when he was running for the presidency –
he took a lot of money from Wall Street – in any way stopped him from
pushing through and signing Dodd Frank and imposing tough rules.
So, it`s a – you know, he gets his supporters – he sends some messages
and his campaign then amplifies those messages. And then a lot of his
young people get really worked up and they`re going off on tangents.
They can attack me, that`s fine. I`m in the arena. But to go after
journalists who say something nice about me, to go after supporters who
post things, to go after elected officials who are for me, because, you
know, I have the vast majority of elected officials on the Democratic side
because they know us both. And they know I would be the president who can
actually get done what I`m saying.
MADDOW: As a journalist, and who is an out and proud liberal, I get
attacked 50/50 by people who say I`m a dyed in the wool partisan for Bernie
and then the other 50 said, it said I`m dyed in the wool partisan for you.
And people really have decided one way or the other, about 50/50, that I`m
completely in the tank.
I do not notice a difference in the tone or the nastiness or the snark or
the inappropriateness of those attacks that I get from the people who
support you or Senator Sanders. If you did want to change the tone of
things from your supporters, could you? I mean, he said he doesn`t want
sexism and other forms of offensive comments from his supporters, can he do
more than he is? Could you do more than you do?
CLINTON: I think we should do what we can. But I`m also focused on what
he says. You know, his argument basically is this. Anyone who has taken a
donation from anyone connected with Wall Street is compromised. They`re
vote has been bought. They can`t be trusted.
That is just not true. If it is true, now it includes him we know because
he`s taken contributions from Wall Street.
MADDOW: He said yesterday that no politician, there`s never been a
politician in history who says, yes, the money that I took influences me.
So, therefore, essentially implying like the defense that there isn`t, that
you don`t claim to be been influenced is by the donations is no defense.
CLINTON: But let`s put out the proof, Rachel. Don`t listen to what people
say. I find it deeply offensive. You know, I have worked really hard.
I`ve taken on many more powerful groups than he has.
I`ve taken on the drug companies, the insurance companies. I`ve got big
oil going after me. I`ve got hedge fund guys spending $6 millions of
dollars in ads against me, which I would think would raise an interesting
question if they are so worried about Bernie, why are they trying to defeat
me? I`ve taken onto gun lobby, something that, you know, he never has
So, I`ve got the scars to prove my bona fides and what I`m willing to take
on and how I`ve stood firm against an onslaught of attacks, you know,
turning me into the political pinata sometimes.
So, point to the evidence. Otherwise, stop it. Let`s talk about I want to
get to universal coverage building on the Affordable Care Act. You want to
start over with single payer. Let the people decide what`s the best way to
So, that`s what this should be about.
MADDOW: On the – staying for a moment on that, that line of attack. You
had mentioned in the debate when Chuck asked you about transcripts of
speeches that you gave paid speeches, that you would look into it. We`ve
had some further word from your campaign that there may be a release of
What`s the status of that? Do you expect to release those speeches?
CLINTON: Well, you know what I said the other day – you know, look, I`m
getting a little bit weary of the double standard. There`s a lot of people
on both sides. If we`re going to start saying what you did when you`re out
of public office, when you`re in the private sector, what you did, fair
game. Release it all. I`m all for that.
MADDOW: You mean all presidential candidates?
CLINTON: Yes, everybody, release everything.
But again, I`ve been asking to do something for which there`s no basis,
just the attempt to cast suspicion. So, I said I will look into it. We
will look into it. But, you know, what`s good for the gander should be
good for the goose.
MADDOW: So, you wouldn`t do it unilaterally, but if everybody`s going to
do it, you would do it?
CLINTON: Well, this is – I`m really not thinking about it until I get
through New Hampshire, to be honest. I want to get through tomorrow, and
then, you know, it`s going to be very boring for people once it is done
under whatever circumstances.
MADDOW: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promising if she does
end up releasing the transcripts of the speeches she gave while she was out
of public office, she says, and I quote, “it`s going to be very boring” was
her exact quote.
Honestly so far, nothing in this race is boring, but that`s what she
predicts. Those speeches will be boring.
Secretary Clinton also today not confirming the Politico.com story, saying
that she`s dissatisfied with her campaign and she`s about to shake her top
staff. But she did say that she`ll be taking stock of her campaign
performance post-New Hampshire and deciding if things need to be changed.
Also, Secretary Clinton not backing down one bit from the increasingly
harsh criticism that she and her campaign, including her husband, former
President Bill Clinton, have been leveling at Bernie Sanders.
The gloves are definitely off and voting starts at midnight. Dixville
Notch has nine. Hart`s Location has 41 voters. Millsfield, New Hampshire,
has 22 registered voters, I`m told. They are all voting starting at
midnight tonight. Game on.
MADDOW: Happy New Hampshire Eve.
If your one qualm about the 2016 presidential race, thus far, is that it`s
been too boring, too predictable, too humdrum, every day kind of campaign,
there`s only one thing I can subscribe to you – a Michael Bloomberg
independent run for president.
There has been reports and rumors for a long time now about former New York
City Mayor Michael Bloomberg having an interest in running for president as
a self-funded independent this year.
But in an interview with “The Financial Times” today, Mayor Bloomberg
officially confirms himself that he really is considering a run. He says
he needs to start putting his name on ballots in March, next month. So, if
he`s getting in, he`s getting in very soon.
So, there`s that, just in case you were thinking what this election was
missing was more chaos.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Governor Kasich, we` are a
day away. Tomorrow night, you`re going to hear from the voters in New
Hampshire. What would it take for you to stand up tomorrow night and say,
“I succeeded in New Hampshire, my campaign is moving on”? What do you need
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, we think it is
going to happen. We are running through the tape. Three town hall
meetings today, we`ll be at 106 or 107.
But the thing that`s really making a difference, underpins everything is
the ground game we have. There`s nobody that thinks – that says that we
don`t have the best ground game here.
You know, a lot of people say he`s put all of his eggs here. He put a lot
here but we have people in South Carolina. We have people in South
Carolina, we`ve got people in Nevada, we`ve got people in Mississippi,
Michigan – all that is happening.
Look, at some point it`s about delegates. I got to get some delegates,
right? We`ll see what happens. But, you know, I`m not – we`re not a
uptight campaign. You know, we`re not like stressed out. We`re fine. The
more we are ourselves, the better we seem to do.
KORNACKI: You`ve been on a lot of elections before. On the eve of an
election, how does this one feel?
KASICH: It feels good. I think, we`re not leaving anything on the field.
Between the town halls, the positive media which cuts through, with the
volunteers, the good debate, I think we have done everything we can. I`m
very relaxed. We have maybe I think one more town hall today plus a couple
of rallies, or whatever. But it`s right where we want to be.
This is exactly where we thought we would be when we started a long time
ago. You know, we actually marched in lot of obscurity for a long time.
So, maybe we`re going to get to the point where that obscurity will come to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Ohio Governor John Kasich with my friend Steve Kornacki today. My
obscurity may be coming to an end.
You know, when candidates sound that upbeat during a campaign, you never
know if they mean it or just spinning, right, if they are just signaling,
so their apparent self-confidence becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.
That said, in addition to sounding very upbeat, Governor Kasich also put
his money where his mouth was. His super PAC just placed a half million
dollar ad buy not in New Hampshire but the next two states in South Carolin
and Nevada. That`s a concrete signal that he thinks his campaign will not
end here in New Hampshire tomorrow.
In a similar show of commitment but one that cost a lot less money, Chris
Christie, today, also gave a sort of similar signal. His campaign released
a schedule of campaign events for Governor Christie in South Carolina. I
heard Governor Christie said he was planning ongoing home to New Jersey for
a couple of days after the New Hampshire primary, before he would head onto
South Carolina. Now, his campaign says on Wednesday, on the day after in
New Hampshire primary, his South Carolina schedule will begin.
Now, none of that changes the fact that if either or both of those
candidates gets smoked in New Hampshire, everybody will expect them to
quit, but they are both of them, Governor Christie and Governor Kasich
today both signaling that they don`t expect to get smoked in New Hampshire.
They expect to go on. Yes, it is all mind game.
That said, Jeb Bush continues to have the worst friends in all of politics
on this type of strategic issue. Today saw another round of Jeb Bush
donors and supporters telling reporters that Governor Bush should quit the
race and his donors are itching for him to get out of race. I mean, in
terms of mind games and perception of confidence, Jeb Bush has no worse
enemies than the people who are supposedly pulling for him and paying for
him to win.
I tried to get Hillary Clinton today to weigh in on the state of the
Republican primary. All she would tell me was that she`s really hoping the
Republican primary goes on for a really long time and that`s as brutal as
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Did you see the Republican debate on Saturday night?
CLINTON: I was at my own event in Portsmouth. So, I – I did not see.
MADDOW: Have you been able to resist the temptation to watch the clips of
Marco Rubio saying the same thing over and over and over again?
CLINTON: I did get to see that because I was on every news channel that I
was flipping around.
MADDOW: Do you have – I mean, he`s seen as at least coming out of Iowa as
having a lot of momentum as a potential nominee for the Republican Party.
Do you have any reaction or opinion about that performance from him?
CLINTON: I`m going to leave my opinions to myself because I don`t want to
in any way influence their process, because they have to make their
decision and clearly, the longer it lasts and the more difficult it is, the
better it will be for us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I don`t want to influence at all except to say I hope it goes on
forever and gets increasingly terrible for everybody.
We`re live from Manchester, New Hampshire. We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FEMALE TV ANCHOR: Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton is back in New Hampshire
today. He`s trying to regain his lead in the polls lost following the
barrage of news reports, raising questions of character.
NBC`s Lisa Meyers is with Clinton.
LISA MYERS, NBC REPORTER: The weekend poll shows Clinton and former
Massachusetts Senator Paul Tsongas dead even, each with 28 percent of the
vote. Perhaps more troubling for Clinton, less than a third of his own
supporters considered him the most truthful and honest candidate. Clinton
slip was triggered by charges last week that he avoided the military draft,
which he denies.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: Did I do anything illegal or wrong? I did
MYERS: But the seeds were sown earlier, with Gennifer Flowers allegations
of a pro-longed extramarital affair. New Hampshire voters who knew Clinton
gave him the benefit of the doubt about that, even as his unfavorable
ratings jumped in the rest of the country.
But in recent days after the draft story reinforced questions about his
character, the damage began to show.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That “Nightly News” report from February 1992, the key part there
is that less than a third of bill Clinton`s own supporters considered him
to be the most truthful and honest candidate in the Democrat field that
Those were the headwinds for Bill Clinton in 1992. But he did come back
against them. He did better than anybody thought he would here in New
Hampshire even amid that sort of environment for him. He did well new in
New Hampshire he proclaimed himself the comeback kid and by June of that
year, he, of course, clenched the Democratic nomination.
It`s been more than two decades since Bill Clinton faced that truthful and
honest problem with New Hampshire voters. But once again, at this critical
point, right before that state`s primary, the same problem is afflicting a
Clinton campaign, only this time voters are questioning Hillary Clinton`s
honesty and truthfulness. It comes up over and over again anecdotally with
undecided voters and it comes up in the polls when people are asked about
their concerns and their hopes.
Today, I asked Secretary Clinton about that directly. I got a really
interesting, really passionate answer, and it came with a quote at the end
of it that`s going to end up on lots of bumper stickers sometime very soon.
MADDOW: Honesty and trustworthiness are technically objective things. You
can tell empirically whether a person is honest and trustworthy by checking
their facts, by following up on their promises. You can measure.
But the perception of honest and trustworthiness, that is a more slippery
thing. Watch what former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says here,
when I put that issue directly to her today in her last interview before
the New Hampshire primary. Pollsters will tell you that the issue of
trustworthiness and honesty is the biggest challenge she`s got with
But just watch her response and check out the fighting words that she`s got
at the end here when I ask her about this. This is Secretary Clinton
MADDOW: I went to some Republican candidate events since I`ve been up here
CLINTON: They let you in?
MADDOW: They let me in. I wear a baseball hat. Incognito situation.
But I specifically wanted to talk to women voters who were there at
Republican candidate events. And I found a number of different women to
talk to. Some are dyed this wool Republicans, but more often I found are
women open to the idea of voting for a Democrat. I talked to a few women
who voted for Barack Obama either last time or in 2008. But they are
shopping for a Republican candidate this year.
And 2-1 (ph), the reason they said they are shopping for a Republican
candidate and not thinking about voting here in the Democratic side is
because they do not believe that you are honest. They have issue with your
I know you see this come up in the polls and people talk about their
feelings about the various candidates. I`m sure you disagree with that
assessment from them. I understand that. But how do you make the case to
people, to women in particular for whom that`s the objection. That`s why
they can`t pull the lever for you.
CLINTON: You know, obviously, this is not anything I want to hear because
I find it so absolutely contrary to who I am and who all these people who
support me, who know me, work with me and count on me know who I am. But I
thought a lot about it, Rachel, because when you think back, I emerged on
the national scene in 1992. I have been under relentless attack ever
Now, just read behavioral science, read psychology, even when the attacks
proved to be unfounded, untrue, it leaves a residue, right? People say,
well, why is she being attacked so much? It must be something there.
So, I get through the `90s. I run for the Senate. Same thing happen. I
worked, I gained the trust of the people of New York. When I run again, I
get a larger percentage of the vote.
So, people who see me in action, people who count on me, people who know
that if I tell you something intend to do, I will do everything in my power
to make that happen. Then President-elect Obama turns around after that
hard fought campaign with all sorts of accusations flying around, say I
trust you, I want you to be my secretary of state.
When I`m holding office, I get along well with Republicans. I will always
have the, you know, right wingers who are never going to give up on trying
to push me down and push me out. They view me as a threat. And I accept
that. But when I get to work with people, we get things done. And that`s
been my pattern.
So, when I get that question and I ask people, I say what is it you are
really reacting to? Very often they don`t know. Then a lot of them will
say, well, Benghazi. I said, OK, Benghazi.
You know, did you know there were nine separate investigations, eight of
them independent, one of them clearly partisan admittedly to try to bring
me down politically. And they all reach the same conclusions.
There were things we could have and should have done better. I immediately
said we would. I testified for 11 hours. I answered every question, but
it`s still on the TV. I hear people talking about it.
I can`t stop them from talking about it. I can only tell you what the
facts are. I can tell you that in the last, what, 36, 37 years, we`ve had
terrorist problems in Iran, in Lebanon, in Kenya, in Tanzania, in New York
and, yes, in Benghazi – none of them were every politicized.
We lost 258 marines and embassy personnel in Beirut. The Democrats didn`t
stand up and go after the secretary of state. We lost people in Kenya and
Tanzania, 12 Americans, hundreds of Africans. Madeleine Albright was
secretary of state, she forthrightly asked for a report. She made it
public. People didn`t turn it into a partisan attack.
So, I have to only conclude that there is a concerted effort to try to make
partisan advantage by really throwing some much at me that even if little
splotches of it stick, it will cloud people`s judgment of me. So, that`s a
burden I carry.
But when you stop and think, you know, the people who have supported me are
not doing it because they just like me. I have the governor of Vermont
supporting me. I have Pat Leahy, the senator from Vermont supporting me,
the two former governors, Madeleine Kunin and Howard Dean supporting me.
They clearly know us both. They clearly prefer to support me. I have the
senator here, the governor in New Hampshire. They know me. They trust me.
They`re not the kind of people who would just sign onto campaign for some
frivolous reason. I have all my friends from the Senate, Cory Booker and
Tim Kaine and Kirsten Gillibrand and Debbie Stabenow and Amy Klobuchar,
they were all up here in the snow because they believe in me, and they
So, I can`t stop the barrage of attacks. I want your viewers and anyone
else who would be interested in this to ask themselves, why does the right
and particularly the Republicans, spend so much time, money and effort
through the media, through their advertising because you look at the
Republicans are running more ads against me than they run against each
other, accusing me of being this and that, all kinds of accusations. Why?
I`ll tell you why, because they are afraid of me. They know that I will be
a president who, yes, I will listen to people, I will seek common ground,
but I will stand my ground and I know how to get things done. And that`s
the last thing these guys want to see again.
MADDOW: I`ll tell you why, because they`re afraid of me – coming to a
bumper sticker near you.
Here in Manchester, tonight, within the last hour, actually a block away
from here. Something went really off the rails at a Donald Trump event.
We didn`t expect to be covering this tonight, but this is truly nuts. It
just happened. We just got the tape of it in, and that`s next.
MADDOW: If you`re running for president, tonight`s your night to make your
strongest closing argument in New Hampshire, to seal the deal. What is the
impression you want to leave in this state before New Hampshire votes?
I`m going to show you now how Donald Trump decided to cap his New Hampshire
campaign. This happened just about one hour ago here in Manchester. It
happened about a block away from where I`m sitting. I don`t have much to
say about this except there`s some language some viewers may find
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You heard the other night at the
debate. They asked Ted Cruz, serious question, well, what do you think of
waterboarding. Is it OK? And honestly, I thought he`d say absolutely, and
he didn`t. He said, well, you know, he was concerned about the answer
because some people – she just said a terrible thing.
You know what she said? Shout it out because I don`t want to –
TRUMP: OK. You`re not allowed to say, and I never expect to hear that
from you again, she said I never expect to hear that from you again. She
said he`s a pussy, that`s terrible. Terrible.
Terrible. That`s terrible. Now –
What kind of people do I have here? OK, what do I have?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Donald Trump closing the deal with New Hampshire Republican voters
tonight in Manchester. He could go on to jokingly fake reprimand the woman
in audience who first shouted out the word before he repeated it into the
microphone. That really happened. That just happened in the last hour.
And he`s up 15 to 20 points in the Republican field right now, their
leading contender for president.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: So, this weekend, New Hampshire was packed with campaign events,
candidates and their surrogates using every last moment, every last venue
to try to persuade every last persuadable voter.
Because of that, it was notable when one prominent candidate left the trail
in New Hampshire yesterday and instead spent the day in Michigan. More
than any other candidate on either side of the aisle, Secretary Clinton has
made national issue of the Flint, Michigan, lead poisoning crisis. But
this was her first visit to Flint since the crisis was under way.
She saw it firsthand. She met parents who are worrying about how to bathe
their children safely, how to cook for their family safely, how to fit in
one trip to the fire station for the one bottle of water their family is
allotted each day.
It`s one thing to talk about what has happened in Flint. It`s another to
go there and see for yourself.
Well, today, back in New Hampshire, I asked Secretary Clinton how that trip
to Flint changed her view on this disaster and what happens to happen next.
MADDOW: What did you learn by going there that you didn`t need before?
CLINTON: Nothing substitutes for sitting like I did and you were there
when you were there with mothers who told me about what had happened to
their families. A mother who moved to Flint just serendipitously right up
at the time the crisis was beginning, a year ago April, pregnant with
twins, started seeing rashes, lost her twins. Just sitting there like I`m
sitting with you just hearing that story, you know there is a depth of
emotion and horror frankly associated with not being able to trust the
water you drink and that you bathe your baby in.
And listening to a lot of officials explained in detail how little control
they had because their city was under emergency management under the
governor, getting into the real detail about what they could and couldn`t
do and how they literally couldn`t get phone calls returned, letters
answered, talking to some of the water warriors who have been on this issue
and doing everything they could to bring it to public attention, talking to
the doctors who are leading up the efforts to test kid and what more they
It really filled out in great excruciating detail how terribly damaged and
abused this community has been and it reminded me that people have a right
to be angry. I have no argument with the anger, the insecurity, the fear,
the worry that people have when your government fails you, when the economy
fails you, when politics fails you, anger is a natural and frankly expected
But as we were talking yesterday and as this incredible mayor who has just
taken this city on her back and is trying to lift it up said, OK, we are so
distraught, our hearts are broken. Our stomachs are sick with worry about
what happens next, but we need a plan.
So I came to try to get them more support, working with all levels of
government to try to make sure they had whatever they needed to do as much
as possible to empower themselves, and I got a long list of, you know,
follow up I will be doing over the next weeks.
MADDOW: You said yesterday you were making a personal commitment you would
see it through –
MADDOW: – to the end.
I will say just my opinion being there, my felling when I was there was
that I couldn`t believe, the basic things that families needed to cope on a
day-to-day basis were not attended to. What I aim at specifically there is
no day-to-day delivery of clean water in Flint.
So, there`s a lot love people, average, poor American city, people don`t
have transportation or people could be house bound, elderly people, right
now, still, to this day, today the day before the New Hampshire primary,
the plan is for people to go out to the fire stations and collect their
allotted one case of bottled water per day – is there a sense in which the
emergency, not just fixing it for the long haul, but the emergency of what
people need day-to-day still isn`t being attended to and there ought to be
some quicker response right now?
CLINTON: Yes. Yes. Look, as I said yesterday, we`ve got a very big
infrastructure problem that has to be fixed. Congress is working on that,
my friend Debbie Stabenow is really leading the charge.
We have a huge set of problems having to do with the needs that people have
that are not being met. You mentioned one of them, clean water. We still
don`t have all the testing set up to be done.
CLINTON: We don`t have the planning yet for what has to happen in the
schools. We don`t know whether we can get not just clean water, but the
kind of nutrition that can maybe begin to mitigate to some extent the
affects of blood before it gets from the bloodstream into tissues, muscles,
So, we have a long list and I brought some folks with me who are going to
stay involved and help with that planning process and we have a big lack of
trust, and one of the things that I have advocated is we need to find a
way, not just to empower, but to hire people in the community, to be the
outreach workers, to do the water delivery, to be on the front lines in
So, we`re putting together under the mayor`s leadership a kind of matrix of
tasks and who can do them, what they need to be able to do them. A lot of
them don`t need training. Some of them might.
And so, how do we piece all this together and talking with the city
council, county commissioners and others, there`s roles for everybody to
play, but somebody has to have the overall approach that is followed.
MADDOW: And quick.
CLINTON: Yes, and very quick.
MADDOW: Secretary Clinton speaking with me today in her final national
interview before the New Hampshire primary. Today, we also learned that
Secretary Clinton`s daughter Chelsea headed to Flint later this week on
Thursday following up.
Certainly, there is a political aspect to this. There are probably votes
to be had in every story, especially in Flint. Secretary Clinton, of
course, wants us to see her as potential President Clinton responding to
this emergency. That`s politics.
But politics are also how we get things done in this country, and they
might be a part of how we get things fixed in Flint, if we ever do.
That does it for us for now. Tomorrow night, our New Hampshire primary
night coverage starts at 6:00 p.m. Eastern.
I`m going to see you on “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”, though, in
just a couple of minutes. I`ll be right there. Seriously.
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