The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 4/15/2016

Niki Kelly, Jim Ananich

Date: April 15, 2016
Guest: Niki Kelly, Jim Ananich

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Steve. Thank you, my friend.
Get inside and stay warm.

Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Happy Friday. It`s great
to have you here.

There`s a lot going on tonight. Some politics, some not politics.

We`ve got some news tonight that is of profound importance to 10,000
American military families, but it`s mostly being ignored by politicians
thus far of both stripes. I will say, though, if we`re a good country, and
one that is trying to get better as a country, the whole problem of
politicians ignoring this thing may soon change. We`ve got that story
ahead tonight.

We`ve also got some news out of Flint, Michigan.

We`ve got political news tonight about one Midwestern state, which I think
is going to make a lot of Republicans really, really angry.

But we start tonight with the unsubtle art of political symbolism. When
political symbolism doesn`t just happen in nature, when you don`t just
accidental get a guy ringing the necks of live turkeys behind Sarah Palin
without her noticing, or you don`t get out there religious right
presidential candidate Gary Bower flipping a pancake so hard, he flipped
himself off a political stage.

When political symbolism doesn`t just happen to you because the universe
offers that to you, but instead you try to construct it. It is still
sometimes as profound as moments like those. It`s also sometimes a little

Take, for example, this picture which we`re going to look at closely. This
is a picture from today`s news. This is a carefully constructed act of
political symbolism.

What you see here, the main subject here is the governor of Mississippi.
That`s the guy in the foreground. He`s signing a bill.

Any governor can sign a bill in private. Put it in a big stack of paper
like all the other stuff he has to sign, right? You don`t need to do
anything show offy about signing any particular bill. Sometimes governors
choose to show off about it, and then they construct an elaborately laid
out piece of political symbolism around a ceremonial bill signing. And
this is the kind of thing you get.

And so, in this case we can decode bit what`s going on based on this visual
of today`s event in Mississippi. So, let`s start at the lower right hand
we have a little set of teeny, teeny tiny cowboy boots sitting on a hipster
live edge cutting board maybe. I don`t know what`s going on there.
Anybody know what`s going on, anybody can help me. I`d love to hear it.

Next to the little cowboy boots, we`ve got a copy of the book about Ronald
Reagan. I believe it`s the Ronald Reagan diaries. For our political
photo-op purposes, it`s got a big smiling picture of Ronald Reagan on the
cover. So, we got Phil Bryant`s face right next to Ronald Reagan`s face.
OK, that`s there for the obvious reasons.

Now, next to that, keep going down the desk. There`s a different book.
Not the Reagan book. This is a different book, it looks older. I can`t
quite tell what it is from this angle. Can we zoom in?

Kind of looks like maybe it`s a cook book. No, not a cookbook. It is a
bible. An old and well worn copy of the bible.

But there`s something sitting on top of the bible. And at first glance it
appears to be a hot dog, which is why I thought the book was a cookbook.
What that actually is not a hot dog. It`s a light colored leather holster
holding a handgun.

Oh, which now tells you what this ceremonial bill signing is all about,
because today was the day Mississippi`s Republican Governor Phil Bryant
signed into law a “bring your gun to church” bill. So, for that purpose,
he`s got his props on his desk to provide the appropriate symbolism and
that includes the people. He`s surrounded himself with a group of people
who are the appropriate people to celebrate bringing your gun to church.

Now, these are all people who had some interest in this new law in
Mississippi, right? These are all people who wanted to be there for the
signing and helped him out in terms of his political symbolism for that
particular bill.

But here`s the thing: this was just one bill for which Mississippi Governor
Phil Bryant did a big symbolic bill signing today. And when it came time
to do the other one, he did it in the same room, he did it from the same
desk. But it`s time for a new symbolism.

So, he had to clear out all the people. Guns and churches time is now
over. The who would Jesus shoot folks have to leave the office because now
it`s time for a new law, new symbolism for which the governor brought in a
whole new set of stakeholders and interested parties for the photo ops.

Now, notice the changes. For this one, different angle so you can see the
Ten Commandments from the back corner. They have left the Reagan book on
the desk there. See on the lower right hand side. They have also left the
bible there next to Reagan, but they have taken the gun off the bible.

And they have surrounded the governor with a whole new group of people who
really count for this bill. They surrounded him with whole new group of
people/photo op human props who see their interest as most affected by this
other new Mississippi law that was signed today, because the other new
Mississippi law that was signed today in a big symbolic photo op bill
signing was for a new ban on a common form of surgical abortion.

Governor Phil Bryant and these other four white men gathering around the
sign into law to make sure your pregnancy proceeds according to their
preferences under pain of criminal punishment.

And, you know, we know from the guns and churches bill signing there were
women available at the Mississippi governor`s office today to put them in
the picture in case they wanted to show that sort of thing. But instead,
they went out of their way to make sure the bill signing picture for the
new abortion law was just all white men.

I know these guys are political pros, but it`s just like they – it`s like
they don`t know how this sort of thing will be received. They can`t think
enough outside themselves to realize what this might look like to other
people, particularly to other people of the female persuasion.

When Ohio Governor John Kasich, signed legislation in 2011 that ended up
closing nearly half the clinics that provide abortions in the state of
Ohio, notice something similar. This was his photo op that day. That`s
the photo op that Governor John Kasich staged in Ohio for signing that
anti-abortion legislation. It was him and a bunch of grown-ass white men.

And for good measure they included in that bill signing ceremony, a very,
very young man. They also brought in a little boy who the governor invited
to sit on his lap and dot the “I” in the word Kasich as the men folk of
Ohio got together to show the boy folk of Ohio how women`s pregnancy can be
controlled by the law.

So, this sort of thing happens in Mississippi. This sort of thing happens
in Ohio. This sort of thing also happened in Indiana sort of with a twist.

This is what it looked like when Mike Pence signed one of his anti-abortion
bills into law. They did include women, but see what I mean about the
stakeholders issue.

When Governor John Kasich of Ohio did this in 2011, it was, at one level,
it was sort of just the same thing that over Republican governors do with
anti-abortion bills in other states, but in another way it was a Ohio
specific expression of – and it`s sort of an extension of John Kasich`s
general tone deafness when it comes to issues related to women of all

So, John Kasich has introduced himself basically to the people of Ohio.
It`s a statewide elected official who says stuff that you can`t believe
he`s actually saying. Sometimes he`s offending women. Sometimes, he`s
just being radically offensive.

Eleven days after he took office as governor of Ohio in 2011, he got on
stage to make a speech or at least to give sort of off the cuff John Kasich
style remarks to a group of state workers. This was 11 days after he
became governor.

In the middle of these remarks, on camera, out of nowhere, totally out of
the blue, unprompted, he launched into this.


GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: Have you been stopped by a policeman who was
an idiot? I had this idiot pulled me over on 315. Listen to this story.
He says to me, he says, he says you passed this emergency vehicle on the
side of the road and you didn`t yield.

He goes back to the car, comes back, gives me a ticket and says, “You must
report to court. If you don`t report to court, we`re putting a warrant out
for your arrest.” He`s an idiot!


MADDOW: John Kasich, right after he got elected governor of Ohio screaming
to a group of unrelated state workers about the idiot highway patrolman in
his state.


KASICH: He`s an idiot.


MADDOW: John Kasich is one of the last three remaining Republican
presidential candidates now. Compared to the other two, he`s viewed as the
normal one. The calm one, the one who says only predictable things.

That may be true in relation to Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. It`s not at all
the reputation he`s earned in Ohio. I mean, the “cops are idiots” thing
was not a standalone occurrence from John Kasich`s time as governor of
Ohio. But also, even if you don`t care about his time as governor of Ohio,
on the campaign trail, while he has been running for president, he`s slowly
been accumulating quite a record now almost a reputation for saying just
incredibly awkward things.

And he says awkward things sometimes them when he`s fired up and angry, but
he even says incredibly angry things sometimes when he was trying to be


KASICH: I look at our friends in the Latino community as people that ought
to be voting Republican. I mean, they`re very strong family. We can all
learn a bit from them about the importance of family, couldn`t we? They
are great. They`re God-fearing, hard working folks.

And a lot of them do jobs that they`re willing to do. And that`s why in
the hotel, you leave a little tip. You know – this lady, my hotel in
L.A., she wrote this note. It said, “I really want you to know that I care
about your stay.”

That just – is that like the greatest thing. “I really care about your
stay.” She had like a little tree with some that she drew a little art
work. It`s just absolutely awesome.

So, you know, let`s – we can learn a lot. She`s Hispanic. I didn`t know
it at the time, but I met her in the hallway, asked her if I could get a
bit more soap. I got to go.

Thank you all very much.


MADDOW: That`s it. I killed it. Got to go. I`ll drop the mic and leave
on the soap antic.

John Kasich is running for president against a businessman who`s never run
an election or won an election. His other opponent is a U.S. senator, but
he is a U.S. senator who has run this precisely run election in his
lifetime in order to become a U.S. senator and that is it.

John Kasich ran for state legislature in Ohio starting in the `70s. He won
nine straight congressional races in Ohio. He won two governor races in
Ohio. This is the second time he`s running for president. And that is an
impressive amount of experience.

It`s marked him out as someone who has gone far in politics given what
tends to happen when he talks to people, or about them particularly, when
those people are women. It doesn`t have to be women but it`s usually

Behold, happy Friday night. This is our child`s treasury of John Kasich
engaging with women voters.



UNIDENIFIED FEMALE: Are you serious?


KASICH: How did I get elected? Nobody was – I didn`t have anybody for
me. We just got an army of people who – and many women who left their
kitchens to go out and go door to door and put yard signs up for me.

All right. I`m going right there. Yes, young lady. Do you go to school

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, sir. I`m a nursing student here.

KASICH: Better yet.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First off, I want to say your comment earlier about
the women came out the kitchen to support you, I come to support you, but I
won`t be coming out the kitchen.

KASICH: You ever been on a diet? Many times. You`re the perfect example.
OK. We set a goal and you reach it. And what happens?

How about a little (INAUDIBLE)? How about a trip over to Mario`s? You
know, an extra – you ever go there Mario`s? We`re there last night. How
about a little (INAUDIBLE)?

You know, Jane Portman, Karen Kasich and Janna Ryan, they operate an awful
lot of the time in the shadows. It`s not easy to be a spouse of an elected
official. You know, they`re at home doing the laundry and doing so many
things while we`re up here on the stage.

All right. Who`s next? Yes, young lady right there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. So, my question is pertaining to Social Security
in my generation and what your plan is to protect Social Security and make
sure that my generation can still retire and be safe?

KASICH: Now, why do you care about that? How old are you?


KASICH: You`re 16 years old and you`re worried about Social Security.


KASICH: What else do you worry about?

Did somebody tell you to ask this question?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I think for myself.

KASICH: If we`re that neighbor you`re married for 50 years, who no one
calls anymore. You want to change the world? You take her to dinner on
Saturday night. She`ll wear that dress she hasn`t worn in six months. I
trust you.

God bless the veterans. I mean, OK.


I don`t have any tickets for, you know, for Taylor Swift or anything or –
you know, or Linkin` – go ahead. Yes, I know, you`re just so excited.


MADDOW: Turns out the young woman who was calling on there did not want
Taylor Swift tickets nor Linkin` Park tickets. She actually had a super
serious question for him about immigration and employment law.

After that experience with John Kasich mocking her for being so excited,
you want Taylor Swift tickets, she ended up writing a furious and very
articulate follow up in her student newspaper about how offended she was to
be patronized by him, and how weird it was at the same event when he told
the other girl sitting near her in the front row that she is so pretty she
must get invited to all the parties.

Whatever else you think of John Kasich`s run for president and all of its
tactical audacity, today, Kasich did another one of these things. And I
think the important thing to understand here is that this wasn`t new. I
know there`s been lots of reason to not pay attention to John Kasich as a
national figure, but if you have been paying attention to him for a
national figure, you would see what he did today is not unusual thing.

This one he did today did make a bigger splash than usual. I think that`s
because people are paying attention to him more than he`s used to. But the
history of John Kasich, even just the recent history shows he does stuff
like this all the time. But today, let`s roll the tape. This was John
Kasich today.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My question is being I`m a young female college
student, what will you do in office as president to help me feel safer and
more secure regarding sexual violence, harassment and rape?


MADDOW: So, that`s the question John Kasich was asked today. This was at
a town hall in Watertown, New York. He ended up giving a long answer to
it, but he decided to stick the landing with this.


KASICH: We`re in a process of making sure that all higher education in our
state and this ought to be done in the country, that our coeds know what
the rules are, what the opportunities are, what the confidential policies
are so that you`re not vulnerable, at risk and can be preyed upon. I have
two 16-year-old daughters. And I don`t even like to think about it, you

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s sad that it`s something I have to worry about,
just walking.

KASICH: Well, I would give you – I also give you one bit of advice –
don`t go to parties where there`s a lot of alcohol. OK, don`t do that.


MADDOW: Listen, co-ed.

That`s the kind of thing that John Kasich says to women and young women all
the time. At this point in the presidential race because there aren`t that
many other people left besides John Kasich, people are paying attention to
him when he says stuff like there. And so, he was criticized for this
today and he came out shortly after those remarks at that town hall and he
tried to walk it back.


KASICH: I want to make sure that our co-eds, our young women have a safe
place to go. That`s why Ohio`s been leader in this effort.


MADDOW: Governor John Kasich has backed away from the earlier assertion
today that our co-eds ought to know better than to be around alcohol at
party if they don`t want to get themselves raped. But he is still calling
them co-eds.

And this isn`t a new style gaffe for Governor John Kasich. This is what
he`s like when he talks in public. And, you know, when he was the governor
of Ohio, that didn`t necessarily matter all that much. But if you`re
looking for a reason why Governor John Kasich is never going to be anything
other than the governor of Ohio, this particular problem he has and his
speaking to women in particular, this is as good a reason as any.

Governor Kasich right now is poised to come in second place in the New York
primary on Tuesday night. That said it`s only Friday. He`s got three more
days of talking to get through until New Yorkers vote. So, anything can
happen, young lady.


MADDOW: There`s one state right now, one Midwestern state where people
complaining about the politics there right now, they aren`t just wing
because they`re losing. That is true in most states particularly when it
comes to presidential politics. But in one state right now, the complaints
sound like whining but they`re actually real complaints and not just sour
grapes. That sort of upsetting story is next. Stay with us.


MADDOW: So, there`s only one state voting on the Republican side of the
presidential race next week. That`s Tuesday, that`s New York. The latest
“Wall Street Journal”/NBC News/Marist poll shows that not only is Donald
Trump likely to win New York, he`s likely to win by an absolutely gigantic

In New York polling right now, Donald Trump is laughing the rest of the
field. He has 54 percent of the vote. With that, he is more than doubling
his nearest New York competitor, who is John Kasich. Ted Cruz languishes
even further behind that.

So, New York is the only primary happening next weeks. That`s on Tuesday.

One week later, a week from Tuesday, there`s going to be five states
voting, and they`re all northeastern states. In three of those states,
there had been recent polling, and in all three of those states, Donald
Trump has double digit leads. The other two states there hasn`t been
polling. That`s next week.

And then, a week after that, the state that votes is Indiana. And in
Indiana, there`s no polling, which is a little shocking because the state
has a really big haul of delegates, 57 delegates at stake in Indiana, which
is a lot. And even though Indiana is the only one voting that day, still,
there`s been no public polling.

Even though the state of Indiana has not yet voted, though, and there`s no
polling, I can confidently hereby tonight proclaim, I can tell you tonight
and it`s not even a prediction, I can actually tell you that whatever
happens with the Republican vote in Indiana on May 3rd, no matter how
Indiana Republicans vote that night and that day, I can tell you Donald
Trump will lose Indiana. He will lose it, at least, in the only way that
really counts.

And the reason I can tell you that is because the delegates, the 57 actual,
in the flesh, human delegates that are at stake in Indiana have already
been named. The state doesn`t vote for another two plus weeks, but the
delegates were picked this week by Indiana state party leaders. Of those
57 delegates from Indiana, only one is known to be a committed supporter of
Donald Trump. The rest of them, particularly if you look at their public
statements and like their Facebook feed and stuff, no.

I mean, if Donald Trump does well this the vote in Indiana, then at least
some of Indiana`s delegates will be compelled to vote for him on a first
ballot at the convention. But nobody thinks the presidential nomination
will be picked on the first ballot. After that first ballot, Donald Trump
can likely kiss all of those Indiana delegates good-bye except the one
guy`s pledge to him who is running the campaign in the state.

The party picked the delegates already before the vote. And they picked
one guy who supports Trump and 56 other people who do not.

Now, in case of Indiana, this is not appear to be the Ted Cruz campaign
out-organizing, running rings around the Trump campaign like we`ve seen in
other states. In this case, it really is the party that screwed over
Donald Trump and his campaign in that state by naming the delegates, ahead
of the vote, and picking vocal anti-Trump folks as delegates before anybody
else got say. I mean, you want to see the establishment in action, the
establishment actively trying to block Donald Trump, then the best case for
that is what`s happening in Indiana. And that kind of thing is one reason
why Donald Trump maybe losing the Republican nomination despite this huge
lead he`s got in the polls and all the wins he`s wracked up in so many
states. He`s getting things snuck out from under him by the state party,
in places like Indiana.

He`s also getting out maneuvered by the other campaigns at state and local
conventions. We saw that in North Dakota. We saw that in Colorado, where
the Trump campaign just did an absolutely terrible job. We`re likely to
see that dynamic again this weekend in states like Wyoming and Georgia.

Georgia was supposedly won by Donald Trump. But it looks like he`s going
to have the delegates snatched from him by virtue of his poor organization
in Georgia starting this weekend.

But Indiana is a different kettle of fish. Indiana is different. Today,
Donald Trump continued to criticize what he is calling a rigged system. He
took to the op-ed pages of “The Wall Street Journal” to single out
political insiders in Colorado taking the vote from him in that state.

But in that state, it really was the other campaigns just beating him to
the punch. It was the Cruz campaign being better at the rules. If he
really wants to appear about a system appearing to be rigged against him,
the state to start with is Indiana.

Joining us is Niki Kelly. She`s reporter for the “Fort Wayne Journal

Ms. Kelly, thanks for being here. I really appreciate your time tonight.


MADDOW: So, I`m just struck by the numbers, right, because Indiana hasn`t
voted yet, because there is only one known Trump supporting delegate among
57, I mean, could the Trump campaign done more to get a foothold or was
this stacked against them from the beginning?

KELLY: The majority people are just long time Republicans in the state who
probably would have picked as delegates no matter who was running. So, I`m
not sure that anyone could have gotten ahead of it too much. I think these
are party insiders and support the party. A lot of them have been
delegates before. So, it`s not surprising to see their names on there.

MADDOW: There hasn`t been, as I mentioned, there hasn`t been any public
polling in Indiana. And there`s – you know, this happens on two tracks.
The more important track is what happens with the delegates at the
convention. But people are going to turn out and vote on May 3rd in

Do you have any sense of how things will go there? Do you have any good
evidence on the ground about how the campaigns are doing in terms of trying
to motivate voters?

KELLY: Well, they just started in the past week opening offices, things
like that. Today, the state party just announced that Ted Cruz will be at
the spring dinner next Thursday. It`s really ramping up.

We expect that last week in April to be, you know, full head on with all
the candidates around.

As far as polling, I know of one that might be coming out in next week or
so. I hope we get to see it. And I know a lot of voters are really
engaged and really asking questions about the delegate process.

I just hope they get out and vote, because we have had just abysmal
turnouts in the past. I think we were last in the nation in the last
election. So, I hope this actually spurs people to action.

MADDOW: Well, and that`s – I mean, that`s part of the sort of
psychological question here, is that people tend to turn out when they
think their vote matters. This part of the process, I mean, in advance
Indiana could expect to have no impact, thought it would all be sewn up,
turns out it`s not.

But then there`s this countervailing force, in which the delegates are
already chosen. And that kind of must cut against people`s sense that this
is going to matter.

KELLY: Yes. The Indiana Republican party knows that. They have been
sending out releases in the last week saying repeatedly, your vote will
matter. Here`s how our delegate system works. They stress again and again
that these people are locked in only on the first ballot but they are free
to vote, you know, how they would want after that.

And, obviously, I haven`t talked to all 57 delegates. You`re right that
only one has publicly come out in support of Trump. He might have a few
more in there somewhere. But it is weird because Indiana is used to not
mattering at all. Our primary is so late that most of the delegates in the
past, the joke is that they might even not have known they were delegates
and they were just going for the party at the convention.

MADDOW: Well, this convention probably is going to be a party. It`s going
to be party of a very different character than we`ve seen in a long time.

Niki Kelly, reporter for “The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette”, it`s really nice
to have you here. Thanks for being here tonight.

KELLY: Thank you.

MADDOW: It`s Friday night. I love Friday night shows. This is a really
good one. We`ve got lots more ahead tonight.

Stay with us.


MADDOW: The best interview I`ve ever seen about drinking poison, I know
just trust me on this. It involved a lobbyist for Monsanto and French TV
network Canal Plus.



MONSANTO LOBBYIST: I do not believe that glyphosate in Argentina is
causing increases in cancer. You can drink a whole quart of it and it
won`t hurt you.

REPORTER: You want to drink some? We have some here.

MONSANTO LOBBYIST: I`d be happy to. Not really. But –

REPORTER: Not really?

MONSANTO LOBBYIST: I know it wouldn`t hurt you.

REPORTER: If you say so, I have some guy –

MONSANTO LOBBYIST: No, no, I`m not stupid.


MADDOW: It`s totally safe. Would you drink some? I`m not stupid. Of
course not.

In the universe of interviews about drinking poison, that moment is
obviously the disputed champion. Nobody can top that.

But today, it got a run for its Monday. That`s next. Bottom`s up.


MADDOW: The governor of Michigan lives here in Ann Arbor. The people
whose town got lead poisoned by that governor`s administration, they live
there, about an hour away in Flint.

And so, when Governor Rick Snyder says, as he`s been saying, that the water
is OK for most people to drink in Flint if they have the right kind of
filters on their faucet. He`s describing water that he doesn`t have to
drink on daily basis.

But there has been this recurring question throughout the Flint water lead
poisoning crisis. Going back to the very beginning, when the water started
looking rusty red or muddy brown or maybe kind of like really bad light

There`s been this recurring question, would Governor Rick Snyder drink that
water himself. Would he pour himself a glass of Flint`s contaminated tap
water and drink it himself? Will he pour himself a glass now, now that he
says the filters work, the filters make the water safe?

Today at a meeting about Flint water, somebody told the governor that the
people of Flint would very much like him to come to their homes and drink
the filtered water himself if he feels so comfortable about it. And after
this meeting today, where he was told that, reporters pressed him for an


REPORTER: There was an invitation for you to come drink the filtered
water. Something you`ll do?

GOV. RICK SNYDER (R), MICHIGAN: Yes. I mean, if someone – I`m happy to
look into that.


MADDOW: Rick Snyder is happy the look into that.

The thing is, if Rick Snyder is going to go into Flint popping into houses
and having a glass of tap water, we actually know it would be like him
playing a game of lead poison Russian roulette.

I mean, that`s not my description of Flint`s water right now. That`s the
description that come from Mark Edwards, the Virginia tech researcher who
blew the whistle on the lead crisis. He`s a hero of the crisis in Flint.
He actually has now been put in charge of testing Flint`s water.

The second highest lead level ever recorded in a house in the city of Flint
was recorded less than two weeks ago, testing not just a dangerous level,
but testing it more than double the level of led that`s considered to be
hazardous waste less than two weeks ago.

A lot of people in Flint refuse to bathe in the water that comes out of
their taps. Reports of rashes connected to the water have been widespread,
the federal government has sent a special federal team to investigate just
that part. “New York Times” this week published a whole article just about
the daily struggle of showering in Flint. How would you feel, showering
with bottled water for couple of years now?

I mean, we`re seven months into the part of the crisis where everybody
admits it`s a crisis. And people in Flint are still trudging to water
resource centers to get bottled water to use for everything.

We used to wonder when the state could get it together to start daily
delivery of water to Flint homes. It now appears there`s no when. Home
delivery is just not happening. Governor Snyder and his administration are
not working on trying to do that. They don`t even aspire to do that.

Go pick up the water yourself. Don`t have a car, good luck.

Flint`s mayor, Karen Weaver, she started a project to start replacing all
of Flint`s lead pipes into people`s home. That project did get off the
ground a month ago, thanks to the mayor`s determination. But so far, it`s
this little program that they are averaging one house a day. They`ve got
thousands to go.

And the state legislature is in no rush to help. Maybe a few months from
now they`ll think about the funding. In Washington, D.C., Utah Senator
Mike Lee just singlehandedly killed a bipartisan aide package that had been
agreed for Flint. He killed that on the conservative principle that if
Flint gets an aid package, then everyone will want one.

As for Governor Snyder, he keeps putting out big heroic plans that actually
don`t solve the problem at hand and the way people are still living right
now. And today, he proposed tighter rules on how much lead can be in
water, rules the governor says it can be a model for other states follow
and to prevent additional water crisis, which is great.

But water in Flint is testing twice hazmat levels. And this has nothing to
do with the problem in Flint. The faucets in ordinary homes are testing
like toxic waste dumps right now.

Governor Snyder also proposes now creating plans within the next decade for
replacing all the lead pipes in the whole state of Michigan, which is also
nice, but also does nothing to help Flint right now. Flint is the place
where the pipes were fine until the Snyder administration ruined them and
left them spewing lead right now.

He wants lots of ways to fix them in the very, very long run. But in terms
of Flint getting fixed now because you`re hearing less about it right now
in the national news doesn`t mean it`s fixed. The people of Flint are
still living with this thing, still not getting clean water, still not
getting the lead out of their pipes.



REPORTER: There was an invitation for you to come drink the filtered
water. Something you`ll do?

GOV. RICK SNYDER (R), MICHIGAN: Yes. I mean, if someone – I`m happy to
look into that.


MADDOW: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder today grimacing after he said he`ll
be happy to look into the prospect of drinking some tap water in Flint
himself. Get folks on that. He gave that answer after announcing a whole
bunch of new plans for addressing large scale led infrastructure issues for
the whole state, years from now. Years after he`s gone as governor.

Model programs that everybody in the country might use some day. Neat.
While in Flint, itself, people tonight still cannot drink the water. And
still are not even having clean water brought into their homes.

Joining us now is Michigan Senate Democratic Leader Jim Ananich of Flint –
Flint born and raised.

Senator, it`s really nice to have you here tonight. Thanks for your time.

Rachel. Thanks for having me.

MADDOW: What do you think of this latest plan the governor has put out?

ANANICH: Well, I think it`s unfortunate. It`s like so many of the other
proposal proposals. I won`t call them plans because plans generally have
an action item that gets them resolve and gets action for them.

I think all of us want to have strict guidelines and safer water. But we
are going in our third year right now to having unsafe water in Flint. And
the governor – you know, he parachutes in and has a press conference about
this big plan that he`s going to do. We don`t have clean water in our
community. We still have to rely on bottled water and filters. I think
that`s unacceptable.

MADDOW: Senator, as you`re mentioned you`re born and raised in Flint. I`m
also advised by a high level source that you`ve got a new baby boy in your
family right now.


MADDOW: First of all, congratulations, which is very exciting.

ANANICH: Thank you.

MADDOW: I just have to ask as somebody who lives in Flint and you and your
wife and your son, among thousands of Flint parents who have to worry about
this, what`s it like not to just deal with this as an acute crisis but to
deal with this, as you say, going into three years? How is it affecting

ANANICH: It`s – you know, I think I`m just like most people in Flint.
You know, we have fear, anxiety, guilt, you know, that we`re not protecting
our families.

And we did not wrong. This is failed policies of the governor and
emergency manager. We don`t have the luxury to look into using our water.
We have to use it.

I would give an invitation to the governor, one that first come drink water
in one of these homes with the high lead levels and also come before my
committee and answer questions to the citizens of my community. Let me ask
under oath and let him answer those questions he`s for so long dodged.

MADDOW: We keep hearing the legislature is happy to let the question of
things like funding for replacing lead pipes to let that ride for a few
months and handle in the fall to get around to that eventually, even they
are positively inclined toward those kinds of fixes. It feels like there`s
no urgency for that kind of thing at the legislature.

Is that an accurate perception?

ANANICH: I think that`s 100 percent spot on. There`s no question about

I think one of the things the governor should be doing as opposed to coming
up with plans that deal with the future, he`s got a problem right now. He
should come to his – the speaker of the house in the Michigan legislature,
go speak to Senator Lee and tell people to stop playing politics with my

These are the people`s lives in my community. We need those services. We
deserve them. This was not a problem we created. We`ve been waiting for a
long time. We shouldn`t have to wait any longer.

MADDOW: Michigan State Senate minority leader, Jim Ananich, Senator, thank
you very much tonight.

ANANICH: Thanks for having me.

MADDOW: We won`t stop covering this. I promise.

ANANICH: I appreciate that. I think that`s important to say. It`s what`s
helping keep this issue in front of us.

MADDOW: All right. Thank you, sir. We`ll be right back.


MADDOW: Because it`s Friday, I have something for you. It`s just a gift.
It means nothing other than what it is. It`s not a metaphor. It`s just
exactly what you think it is.

It`s a nice grandma sitting in the driver seat of a Tesla Model S while
that car is driving on autopilot. Enjoy. Enjoy.


GRANDFATHER: There`s a car coming. This car is – put me for me to
control it. Oh, dear. Jesus! I could never. Ah, ah, oh, where`s it

Oh, my God. This is so scary. Oh, Jesus, this is my first day out and I`m
about to die.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, come on, relax.


MADDOW: Sometimes a nice swearing grandma driving a car on autopilot is
just a nice swearing grandma driving a car on autopilot. No metaphor
necessary. This is what it is.

Happy Friday. We now live if a world where cars drive themselves. That`s
all. That`s all.

We`ll be right back.



JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: We`re working now in so many different
areas. We`re working on Sudan. We`re working on Yemen. We`re working on
Libya. We`re working on the DPRK. We`re working on the South China Sea.
And above all, still Afghanistan. And so, I think –

HOST: Where does Afghanistan stand? Are the Taliban continuing to make
gains in Afghanistan, owning more territory?

KERRY: They have made some gains.


MADDOW: Afghanistan, still? Yes, still.

So we know how this goes now. The U.S. military has been doing this for
long enough that we know how this goes and it goes like this. In
Afghanistan, every year, a miraculous thing called winter slows down the
fighting, literally because it`s snowy and cold. The fighting ebbs. The
snow cuts off mountain passes and trails that the Taliban uses for supply
routes and for transit and so winter slows down the war.

And then we know how this goes, every year, spring means the fighting
starts back up. And now, it is spring. It`s spring here and it`s spring
there. So, like clock work the Taliban this week announced the sort of
this year`s spring fighting season.

They proclaimed in an e-mail to reporters that fighting season this year
started at 5:00 a.m. local time on Tuesday. And the reason that doesn`t
strike us as weird anymore, the reason we expect this and we know how this
cycle goes, is because we have been doing this for such a long time.

This is the 15th straight year that the brave men and women of the United
States military have done this. This is fighting season number 15 that we
have put them in now. We have never in the history of our country fought a
war as long as the one our military is still fighting in Afghanistan.

The U.S. currently has 9,800 troops in Afghanistan. That`s a level that
has remained steady over the past year. President Obama had set a goal for
getting those 10,000 troops out of Afghanistan by the end of his
presidency, but he officially gave up on that goal last fall, instead, he
said the war in Afghanistan would be handed off to his successor.

He set a new goal to cut the number troops from 10,000 down to between
5,000 and 6,000 before he leaves office, but even that troop decrease is
now under review.

If you`re counting dollars, the U.S. has now spent more on Afghanistan
reconstruction than we spent on the Marshal Plan that rebuilt Europe after
World War II.

Think about that for a second, and inflation adjusted, real dollars, we
have now spent significantly more on reconstructing Afghanistan than we did
on the Marshal Plan. Just let that sink in for a minute.

In terms of return on investment, even ahead of this year`s fighting
season, the Taliban already controls more territory now than at any time
since the U.S. invaded and toppled the Taliban government in 2001. They
directly or exert influence over about one-third of the country right now.

Last year in September, the Taliban, you might remember, they briefly took
over and held a major city in northern Afghanistan, the city of Kunduz.
Today, now that the fighting season is on again, today, the Taliban
starting attacking Kunduz again and at least one member of the council
there says the city might fall again to the Taliban.

American forces have been involved in planning defense tactics for that
city, but at the moment, no additional U.S. forces have been sent into
Kunduz try to defend it again. But in that big city at least, it`s on.
Again, in year 15, officials say they expect very tough combat in months

And now, in year 15, the mission is expanding. President Obama directed a
new effort by Special Forces in Afghanistan to conduct new offensive
operations in that country, but not against the Taliban. This time, these
new operations are against ISIS.

We think of this forever war in Afghanistan as a two-sided fight, but we`ve
now been there long enough that`s out of date. Now, the fight against the
Taliban is being waged alongside a separate war against a new player,
roughly 1,000 fighters for ISIS, who are hostile to the U.S. and to the
Afghan government, but the Taliban.

So, ISIS guys are fighting the Taliban. We`re fighting the Taliban. Does
that mean we`re on the side of ISIS? Of course not.

On the other hand, we`re fighting ISIS. The Taliban is fighting ISIS. So,
are we on the side of the Taliban? No, of course not.

We`re fighting the Taliban and ISIS, and ISIS and the Taliban are also
fighting each other.

If we had a sane and responsible political system in this country, this is
what our presidential candidates would be clobbering each other about right
now. This is what they`d be clamoring to beat each other about
politically, because we the voters would be holding them accountable for
whether or not they could fix this, because this – for us, this needs a
political solution.

I am no expert and neither you are, but a solution that has not worked in
15 straight years of trying is one that is probably not going to work in 16
years either or 17 or 18. Nothing starts to work in year 16.

And if we`re going to get a new approach here, it`s going to have to come
from Congress, ha, as if, or it`s going to have to come from one of these
nice folks. And as long as the war is seen as a foreign story, something
that only effects military families, and as long as the fate and the work
of 10,000 American troops is not seen as something that American
politicians actually have to make decisions about, as long as this is just
seen as an interesting international news story, then a smart solution is
never going to arrive like a gift from heaven. This thing is just going to
keep chugging along.

This week, we started our 15th straight fighting season in that country.
First presidential candidate to notice that wins a prize. The first
presidential candidate to credibly talk about how to fix that ought to win
the White House if our political system made any sense.

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

Now, it`s time for a special Friday night edition of “THE LAST WORD WITH


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