The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 9/12/2016
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: September 12, 2016
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening. Thanks, my friend.
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: You bet.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home joining us at this hour. Happy to have
you with us. Lots going on.
In December 1996, President Bill Clinton had just been re-elected to his
second term in office and he announced a big slew of new nominees for high-
ranking positions in his second-term administration, including Bill Daley
who was nominated to be the new secretary of commerce.
Also, our old friend Bill Richardson, who was a familiar face already by
that time, but in this case, December 1996, Bill Richardson was being
nominated to be the new American ambassador to the United Nations.
So, at this announcement, you see Al Gore is there, on the left side of
your screen, Bill Daley is there, on the right side of your screen, comes
out and introduces his nominees. Bill Daley is the commerce secretary. He
comes and says, thank you, Mr. President. I want to thank my family, yada,
And Bill Richardson steps to the podium to say basically the same thing.
Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you to my family.
But then while Bill Richardson is talking, it all goes horribly wrong.
This is Bill Richardson speaking but keep the right side of your screen on
Bill Daley. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: To my wife and
family, Barbara, thank you. I apologize for writing in the DC3 50 years
old without windows. I won`t do it again. To those on my congressional
staff, those that accompany me on these –
BILL CLITNTON, THEN-U.S. PRESIDENT: I think he`s fine. He fainted. We`ll
see. Thank you. OK.
I think he fainted. I think he`s fine. We`ll give you a report in a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Bill Richardson is like, this is not an auspicious beginning.
But William Daley, while being announced as the nation`s next commerce
secretary, he just full-on passed out. He was 48 years old at the time,
generally healthy. He said he hadn`t eaten lunch, it was hot under the
lights, he was really tired, been exhausted recently and he just fainted.
He told reporters he had never fainted before in his life before he fainted
in that very high-profile moment.
As far as we know, he also never fainted again after that moment. He went
on to be fine obviously 20 years later he went on to become Barack Obama`s
White House chief of staff. He`s still around. He`s still kicking. But
that day, when he got nominated for commerce secretary, that did not look
And fainting is a thing that tends to happen near former President Bill
Clinton. “Salon” a few years ago ran an article titled, “Why do people
keep fainting around bill Clinton?” Here`s just a young woman just behind
him on the left side of your screen here. Bill Clinton is campaigning for
Hillary Clinton. This is in 2008 and this young woman gives a lot of
warning that she`s going and then, whoa, she just goes down.
Same thing happened later on that year after Barack Obama became the
nominee, Bill Clinton was giving a Democratic unity speech in October that
year and another person standing next to Bill Clinton just went.
During that 2008 campaign, actually, during the reelection campaign in
2012, even just randomly over the course of his presidency, a lot of people
have also fainted around Barack Obama. He has made it – made sort of an
art form of taking – gracefully taking note of people who are passing out.
In the act of passing out, he gets the attention and then sort of smoothly
moves on. This has happened to him a few times.
Bernie Sanders also had a couple of dramatic instances dealing with
fainters during his run for the presidency this year. There`s a couple –
actually, they were kind of scary at the time but you could also see that
Bernie Sanders is not used to this happening around him. You can see it in
the shock in the way that he responds – the shock and concern.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Tell you is that there is one issue out
We were told when the debates were going to take place and, as some of you
know, they were –
Oh, my God!
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: It is sort of an occupational hazard of either being president or
running for president that sometimes people collapse around you. And, you
know, it may be not totally random. It may be a product of Secret Service
protocols. I don`t know. By the time you`re actually standing behind a
president or a presidential candidate who is speaking at an official event,
you`ve gone through all the layers of security and all the time that takes,
maybe you haven`t eaten and you`ve been on your feet for a long time and
dehydrated and the lights are hot. Maybe it`s a little situational about
security and being that near to people who get to that high level of
But it does happen and it`s not the end of the world when it happens but
it`s always worrying. It`s always a shock.
It`s another level of worrying and another level of shock when the person
who`s doing the passing out is not near the president of the United States,
it`s actually the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: It happened when the president was snacking
on pretzels while watching the NFL playoffs with his two dogs. One of the
pretzels apparently triggers something that caused the president to hit the
NBC`s White House correspondent Campbell Brown tonight has the latest.
CAMPBELL BROWN, NBC NEWS REPORTER: The first real health scare for
President Bush and his first words to reporters today –
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: My mother always said, when you`re
eating pretzels, chew before you swallow. Listen to your mother.
BROWN: But for all his light-heartedness, clearly advisable on the
president`s face a big abrasion on this left upper check and a bruised lip.
How did it happen? The aides say the president was watching football on
the couch in his bedroom Sunday evening, alone except for the dogs Barney
and Spot. As aides describe it, he was eating a pretzel that, quote, “went
down wrong” and triggered a temporary drop in Bush`s heart rate causing him
to pass out.
BUSH: I hit the deck and woke up and there was Barney and Spot showing a
lot of concern.
BROWN: The president said he`s not sure but he believes he was only out
for a few seconds because when he woke up, the dogs hadn`t moved. The
president called the White House nurse on 24-hour stand by and then walked
down to see the doctor on the ground floor of the residence.
BROKAW: Doctors do say the president`s fainting episode is nothing to
worry about. But why would someone, apparently with no health problems,
suddenly pass out? Well, it`s not as uncommon as you might think.
More on that now from NBC chief science correspondent Robert Bazell.
ROBERT BAZELL, NBC NEWS CHIEF SCIENCE CORRESPONDENT: President Bush looks
to be in good health. Indeed, his doctor says several tests of his heart
and vital signs show that his passing out last night was not the result of
any underlying health problem, but the size of the bruise on his cheek
shows he did take a hard fall, losing consciousness completely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: President George W. Bush had his pretzel episode in 2011 and then
the president himself and the White House in general basically made light
of the situation, make sure you chew before you swallow, right? But still,
it was a little unnerving to see the president so visibly beat up. He had
a big bruise. His face looked like he went a few rounds in a bare knuckle
His father, the first President Bush, also had a dramatic fainting episode
while he was in office. The George H.W. Bush White House also basically
tried to make light of that incident and the initial news reports after
President George H.W. Bush passed out at that state dinner in Japan, they
tended to downplay the incident and focused on the fact that the president
was able to pop back up after he vomited and slumped over onto the Japanese
The reports actually got a little more serious a few days after the
incident when ABC News was able to obtain a longer tape showing what
happened in that room. And the footage that ABC aired, initially what
aired was, like, oh, this was an unusual incident involving the president
having the flu. But the footage aired a few days later – I mean, we still
look back on it being a funny incident but when you look at that tape, what
they actually showed was upsetting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: The lone camera in the ding room was locked in on the head table
when president bush was overcome by nausea and fell forward. It appears he
lost consciousness as he toppled over onto his host, Prime Minister
Miyazawa. The news scene shows First Lady Barbara Bush reacting quickly,
recognizing her husband needed help, bringing her napkin to his mouth and
then stepping back and letting the Secret Service agents take over.
As the commotion became more frantic, one agent told guests to stay back
and then he vaulted over the table to help.
Moments later, come the scenes replayed so many times in the last three
days, the president recovers enough to apologize and leave.
The nausea had plagued President Bush all evening. Published reports say
before the dinner, his doctor warned him not to go. Mr. Bush did not take
During the receiving line before the meal reports say he excused himself
once and threw up and even had to change some soiled clothes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: We look back at that incident in Japan now as almost a comic event
and president bush said not long after it happened that he was so
embarrassed over the whole thing. The Japanese apparently coined the
phrase “Bushusuru” as a slang term for barfing, after that whole incident
But when you see the footage of it happening at the time, particularly that
longer tape that NBC got, it`s bad. They cut out the part where he
actually vomits but there`s his wife running over to him and grabbing a
napkin and covering his face with the napkin and wiping him off and the
president is very clearly totally unconscious, totally insensate on –
lying on top of the Japanese prime minister and the Secret Service agent in
the foreground moves from trying to help everybody to – as they said,
vaulting over the table in trying to help the president in what was a
serious emergency. That was not a good scene.
But in the larger scheme of things, it was also not that serious. I mean,
he had the flu. He barfed and passed out. He was OK the next day.
Presidents are human. They got afflicted with passing health issues.
Sometimes, presidents get afflicted with serious not passing health issues.
Even when they are serious, though, that`s generally not what defines them
or their presidency.
Dwight Eisenhower, first elected in 1952, he was sworn in by 1953. By
1955, he had a serious heart attack in office. He also had Crohn`s
disease. In 1956, he had to have serious surgery for an obstruction that
was brought on by his Crohn`s disease. By 1957, in addition to the heart
attack and surgery for the obstruction, he had a stroke in office in 1957.
His successor was JFK, elected in 1960 after a campaign marked in part by
his opponents insisting that he had Addison`s disease. He insisted he did
not have Addison`s disease. He did, in fact, had Addison`s disease, which
is a serious condition affecting his adrenal gland from which he took a
huge variety of medications over the course of his adult life and his
FDR, of course, is the most famous case. First elected in `32, elected
again in `36, elected again in 1940, elected again in 1944. It`s now one
of the most famous things in American presidential history that FDR was
paraplegic. He used a wheelchair because of the affects of polio.
But in public, he was afforded a zone of privacy on that issue. It was not
a secret but it was not really part of his public profile either.
That said, regardless of polio, by the time FDR was running for his fourth
term, he was really quite ill.
Frank Leahy, who founded the famous Leahy Clinic, Frank Leahy did a medical
exam on FDR the night before he accepted his party`s nomination at the
convention in `44, in July of 1944. And Leahy was basically shocked at
what he found in that medical evaluation.
It was only five years ago, 2011, they finally made public a letter that
Frank Leahy wrote that night following examining the president. The letter
said FDR was in heart failure, if not in heart failure, at least on the
verge of it.
Frank Leahy, founder of the Leahy clinic, says he gave this information to
FDR`s personal physician. He says he told him in no uncertain terms that
President Roosevelt would die in office if he went on to accept that
nomination the next day and win the election and become president for a
But FDR went through with it to assuage any fears out there among the
public about his health, to calm any worries the public might have had as
he asked to be put back into the White House for a 13th year in office.
Right before the election in November 1944, he went so far as to insist on
an over the top demonstration of his health and resilience. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Crowds at baseball field in Brooklyn greet President Roosevelt
starting his tour of New York City. Here on behalf of his friend Senator
Bob Wagner, Mr. Roosevelt has a special word for Brooklyn Dodger fans.
Now, procession through the metropolis in an open car.
FDR`s first outdoor appearance as a leading candidate. He doesn`t seem to
mind the weather one bit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Fifty-one-mile motorcade, through all five boroughs of New York
City, in an open car, in a cold, pounding rain to show his vigor. And FDR
went on to win the election that fall and he was sworn in for a fourth term
in January and he was dead by April.
So, we have had presidents with all sorts of ailments and illnesses, and
standards for disclosure and allowances for privacy, even allowances for
secrecy with some eye toward public morale, those standards used to be
different from what they are now. And maybe that`s uncomfortable.
I mean, maybe we`d be a better country if we were back in the days of JFK
hiding his massive medication regime or Woodrow Wilson having a massive
stroke and telling no one about it for months or Grover Cleveland having a
cancerous growth removed from his mouth in secret on a moving yacht because
he didn`t want anybody to know that he had any kind of problem. Literally,
Grover Cleveland had surgery in 1893, he had some kind of a cancerous
growth in his mouth, he called up a friend who had a yacht, he got surgery
on the thing and his mouth while the yacht sailed around Long Island sound,
so nobody would think he was doing anything other than having a nice day on
I mean, maybe we`d be better off, right, if that`s how we still treated
presidential health. Somewhere between secrecy and privacy being
But you know what, we don`t treat it that way anymore. And candidates
sometimes chafe it that. We go back to Bill Clinton in 1992 when he was
first running for president. It was a source of concern when Bill Clinton
was running in `92 that he kept losing his voice all the time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Clinton has developed a bad case of laryngitis but his staff was
upbeat despite that, elated by a new poll which shows his lead widening.
Clinton`s brutal schedule, he arrived in Cincinnati at 4:30 this morning,
his schedule finally got to him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The governor`s voice is completely gone and will not be
able to speak.
REPORTER: Clinton`s allergies, lack of sleep and overuse made his voice a
BILL CLINTON: Bad, huh? It`s bad. We fought for a year. We got two days
to go. My voice will be better by this afternoon and I`ll be there Monday,
I`ll be there Tuesday, fight on. Don`t give up. Go!
REPORTER: Clinton`s staff says he`s gargling and doing voice exercises
before he starts a final nine-state swing tomorrow. Clinton`s staff says
despite his laryngitis, he feels fine. And to demonstrate it, Clinton
tossed a football with an aide while the cameras rolled.
By late afternoon in Pennsylvania, where he`s comfortably ahead, Clinton
began to regain his voice.
BILL CLINTON: On Tuesday, we will win a new day for America.
REPORTER: But it`s still weak and raspy heading into tomorrow`s final
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Bill Clinton was unusually reticent about releasing information
about his health when he first ran for president in 1992. It became an
issue because of his very, very evident voice problems at a very high-
profile time. The health of the candidates that year was also an issue
because his main rival for the nomination in `92 had been Paul Tsongas.
Paul Tsongas had had lymphoma. In fact, after the campaign ended and
Clinton was in the White House, Paul Tsongas had a serious recurrence of
his cancer, he ended up passing away two days before Bill Clinton was sworn
in for his second term, which means had Paul Tsongas won the primary in
1992, had he won the presidency in `92, he might not have made it alive
through his first term as president.
But even with the issue of Paul Tsongas` cancer and with that strange
incident in Japan, where the incumbent Republican president feel ill,
literally got sick, vomited and passed out on top of a foreign head of
state, even with those health issues swirling around that campaign, Bill
Clinton was very reticent about releasing health information. He refused
all requests for interviews either with him, on the subject of his own
health, or with his doctors even though the other candidates were doing
It was not until in his re-election race in 1996 when Clinton finally
released extensive information about his health. He did an extensive
interview with “The New York Times” about his health and that included a
revelation that he was receiving weekly shots to desensitize him to
allergens. It was controversial at the time because the White House
doctor, who had been the White House doctor under George H.W. Bush, he said
after Clinton was sworn in, he said that he had been suddenly and summarily
dismissed from his job, fired as the White House doctor one week after Bill
Clinton was sworn in.
Right after, hours after he refused a request from a White House staff
member to please inject the brand-new president with what was described to
him as an allergy shot, but the White House doctor said he didn`t have any
idea what was in this unmarked vial, he didn`t feel comfortable doing that,
he baulked at that, he says he was fired within hours. We got an
explanation for that from the candidate who`s been the president four years
down the road.
We have evolved dramatically over time in terms of what we expect to know
about the bodily health of our presidents and our presidential candidates,
and it is – it`s awkward and probably unnerving to them but also
important. And we`re now at a point in terms of our traditions and our
experience and our expectations as a country where I think – I think the
principle that applies is that the more cause there is for concern, the
more reasonable concerns there are about a candidate`s health or
president`s health, the more disclosure is warranted to alleviate those
And that`s why Donald Trump`s half page doctor letter has been more than
just hilarious, right? If Dr. Donald Trump is elected, he would be the
oldest person ever sworn in for a first term as president of the United
States. Him releasing a hyperbolic misspelled unserious, unprofessional
laugh out loud campaign document from a gastroenterologist is just
unacceptable in terms of modern standards in terms of what we get to know
about candidates and presidential candidates and their health.
The Trump campaign for its part can now say their candidate basically snuck
away from the traveling press corps sometime last week and got a brand-new
physical exam. They say they will release results from that medical exam,
if not a more complete medical history, this week, probably on Thursday
when Mr. Trump appears on the daytime talk show hosted by a man named Dr.
After Hillary Clinton stumbled and appeared to fall and had to be bodily
hauled into a waiting van, after she abruptly left the 9/11 memorial
service in New York City this weekend, the Clinton campaign also ditched
her press pool. They initially announced that the collapse was the result
of her being overheated. They later announced that the collapse was due to
a pneumonia diagnosed on Friday but not reported anywhere until Sunday
afternoon, until after this incident, until hours after this incident.
The health of the candidates this year has already been politicized,
grossly politicized, frankly, by the Trump campaign and I mean that
specifically. The Trump campaign politicized their own candidate`s health
by making a mockery of the standard disclosure that a candidate usually
makes. The Trump campaign also politicized Hillary Clinton`s health by
criticizing her health, by encouraging and passing on conspiracy theories
about her health for months now.
But now that Hillary Clinton has had this medical episode in public, and
had this evolution of the explanation for it, even over the course of one
day from her campaign, well, now, the Clinton campaign is facing real
questions, real concerns, not just trumped up political concerns about her
health and how transparent her campaign has been about it.
Her campaign told me tonight they will make a more complete disclosure of
Clinton`s health records by the end of this week. They previously just
said they`ll release that stuff soon. They told me tonight it will be this
So far, they have said nothing else to shed substantive light on what`s
going on here. No candidate for president likes to discuss any of this
stuff, no human being would. But the greater the reasonable concern, the
more you must disclose.
And so, I think it is inescapable now that the Clinton campaign is now
going to have to pull a full McCain here, right? They are going to have to
release much more medical information than they ever would have before in
order to make this if not – to make this not a defining if not the
defining issue of her run for the presidency in these last two months.
We`ve got much more ahead tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: A little bit of breaking news here. We have just heard from
Hillary Clinton herself. Her first statement since yesterday when she fell
ill and had to be helped into a vehicle at the 9/11 memorial service.
We`ve just heard from her for the first time.
That`s next. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: She`s doing fine. She was even better
last night before she went to sleep. She had a good night`s sleep. She
just got dehydrated yesterday.
CHARLIE ROSE, HOST: Is that what happened, she got dehydrated?
BILL CLINTON: Yes.
ROSE: Because when you look at the collapse, the video that was taken, you
wonder if it`s not more serious –
BILL CLINTON: Oh, no.
ROSE: – than dehydration.
BILL CLINTON: She`s been – well, if it is, it`s a mystery to me and all
of her doctors. Rarely, but on more than one occasion, over the last many,
many years, the same sorts of things happen to her when she got severely
dehydrated. And she`s worked like a demon, as you know, as secretary of
state and as a senator and in the year since, she –
ROSE: But more importantly, she`s on a grueling campaign.
BILL CLINTON: Yeah.
ROSE: And you know what that`s like.
BILL CLINTON: I do. And she`s had 2 1/2 – she had 2 1/2 hard days before
the day when she got dizzy. Today she made a decision, which I think was
correct, to cancel her campaign day.
BILL CLINTON: To take one more day to rest.
ROSE: Is it possible she will be away weeks from the campaign trail?
BILL CLINTON: No, not a shot. I`ll be lucky to held her back another day.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: How often has this happened?
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Oh, I think really only twice
that I can recall. You know, it is something that has occurred a few times
over the course of my life and I`m aware of it and usually can avoid it.
COOPER: Do you actually faint? Did you actually faint or pass out or lose
HILLARY CLINTON: No, I didn`t. I felt dizzy and I did lose my balance for
a minute. But once I got in, once I could sit down, once I could cool off,
once I had some water, I immediately started feeling better.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: Hillary Clinton tonight on CNN and Bill Clinton tonight on CBS,
both commenting on Hillary Clinton`s health. She is at home taking what
she described on Twitter today as a day home sick from work, which is
something we all have done, except not while running for president
whereupon it takes on a different meaning.
NBC presidential historian Michael Beschloss is here with us next. Stay
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TV ANCHOR: A Republican candidate for president took the unusual step
today of releasing extensive health records, physical and mental. Aides to
Arizona Senator John McCain say he released the information to counter
rumors about his fitness.
NBC`s David Bloom has our report.
DAVID BLOOM, NBC REPORTER: Sitting in the stands of today`s Army/Navy game
is John McCain, one eye on the field, the other on the White House. Today,
McCain, the former Navy pilot, shot down over North Vietnam, released some
1,500 pages of medical records which detail a physical and emotional toll
of his 5 1/2 years in captivity but which also suggest the Arizona senator
is psychologically fit to be president.
Neuropsychologist Dr. Jeffrey Moore (ph) reviewed McCain`s records from the
There`s nothing that you`ve seen that indicate a mental health problem?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Correct. Yeah. There`s never been a diagnosis.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: People talk about the full McCain in terms of medical records.
This is the remarkable thing that they are talking about. When John McCain
first ran for president in 2000, he released 1,500 pages of medical
records. If people had concerns about his ordeal as a prisoner of war and
what he went through and what the effects were, he would come totally
clean, 1,500 pages.
And then when he ran again eight years later, he did it again in 2008, he
released another 1,200 – an additional 1,200 pages of medical records
covering the time period from 2000 to 2008. Just everything.
McCain had cancer treatments, he had degenerative arthritis because of his
war wounds, I mean, anything you want to know, it`s all there. That`s the
full McCain. Thousands of pages of medical history and medical documents,
full disclosure, warts and all, literally.
Presidents and candidates for president do not have a rule book to follow
here in terms of disclosing their medical records, but is the evolving
standard now that the level of disclosure has to rise to meet the
reasonable level of concern about a candidate or a president`s health?
Joining us now is Michael Beschloss, NBC News presidential historian.
Michael, it`s nice to have you with us tonight. Thanks for being here.
MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, NBC NEWS PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Thanks. It`s getting
more interesting every minute, isn`t it?
MADDOW: Well, you know, we`ve got comments tonight from Hillary Clinton
and Bill Clinton both commenting on her health history, essentially,
characterizing this in light of other events that she`s had. They said –
the campaign told me tonight that this week, they will release more
significant medical records but we don`t yet know what that will be.
I mean, when you look at the historical sweep of this among different
presidents and presidential candidates, is there any guide to give us an
explanation or expectation of what would be reasonable to release?
BESCHLOSS: Well, I think the best thing for the country and two candidates
would be for them to be as transparent as possible. That`s why I think
it`s good news if Hillary Clinton is going give a full accounting and the
same would be true of Donald Trump because so many times we haven`t had
You know, you had it early in the show FDR in 1944, he had advanced
cardiovascular disease. You could say that he looked tired, lost a lot of
weight, president`s entourage said he looked fine but people within the
entourage observed at the time that Roosevelt during certain moments in
1944, end of World War II, was only able to work – focus about four hours
The other extreme, 1956, when Dwight Eisenhower had this heart attack that
you mentioned in owe 55. At first, the White House was very secretive
about it. Then there was a backlash and they went to the other extreme,
tried to reveal almost everything possible to allay public fears and that
was great for Eisenhower because just before the `56 election, his
opponent, Adlai Stevenson, stupidly went on the news saying every piece of
medical knowledge and scientific knowledge we have suggests if you elect
Eisenhower over me, Richard Nixon, his vice president, would be president
within the next four years.
BESCHLOSS: People thought that was gross and made Stevenson pay for it and
Eisenhower had revealed enough information that they felt confident he
could do a good job.
MADDOW: So, attacking a president running for re-election on the basis of
his health, or perceived health, that had a backlash effect, a negative
effect on Stevenson. Has there ever been an incident where – I mean,
obviously, there had been different concerns about health, or presidential
candidate`s over time.
Do you know of any instance in which that has prevented somebody from being
elected or re-elected?
BESCHLOSS: Not in modern times. It`s never risen to the level of an issue
that really cost someone an election, to some extent, because presidential
candidates, as you were saying earlier, have been evasive. Ronald Reagan
in 1984, however, after the first debate, gave a pretty halting performance
and many voters told pollsters, we think the president is losing it, to the
point that his opponent, Walter Mondale, in some polls suddenly zoomed up
and was almost running even with the president.
The president had a second debate with Mondale, made the statement`s joke,
“I`m not going to make an issue of my opponent`s youth and inexperience.”
Mondale told me later on, “You can see tears in my eyes as I`m trying to
laugh at a joke. The tears were because I knew that Reagan had just won
the election and defeated me.”
MADDOW: Michael Beschloss, NBC News presidential historian, at a time like
this and moments like this, absolutely invaluable. Michael, thank you very
BESCHLOSS: Thank you. Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. We got much more to come here tonight and what is a
story that is continuing to evolve over this hour.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: So the election has been under way for four days now. Swing state
North Carolina kicked off the 2016 presidential election on Friday, this
past Friday. They sent out this very exciting forum that you can use in
North Carolina to request a mail-in ballot. As of this morning, almost
38,000 North Carolina residents have asked for one of those.
The North Carolina election`s board tells us they have 27 votes sent in
already, 13 Democrats, eight Republicans, five unaffiliated voters, and one
Libertarian. Mazel tov, Libertarians. You already on the board in North
We are in day four of the part of the presidential election where things
not only count, they are officially being counted. Lots more ahead
tonight. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Let me ask you, your husband said tonight in
an interview with Charlie rose, he said, “Rarely, on one occasion the same
things happened to her” – meaning you – “when she got severely
Can you say how many times over the course of the last, say, five years
you`ve been dehydrated and gotten dizzy? I know you passed out, hit your
head back in 2012 which led to the concussion. How often has this
HILLARY CLINTON: Oh, I think really only twice, that I can recall. You
know, it is something that has occurred a few times over the course of my
life and I`m aware of it and usually can avoid it.
What happened yesterday was that I just was incredibly committed to being
at the memorial. As a senator on 9/11, this is incredibly personal to me
and I could, you know, feel how hot and humid it was. I felt overheated.
I decided that I did need to leave and as soon as I got into the air
conditioned van, I cooled off, I got some water and very quickly I felt
So, I felt fine but I`m now taking my doctor`s advice, which was given to
me on Friday that I ignored, to just take some time to get over pneumonia
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Hillary Clinton tonight commenting on the incident yesterday which
she fell ill at a 9/11 Memorial event in New York City. She said tonight
this has occurred, in her words, a few times over the course of her life,
saying it`s usually something she can avoid.
Tell you something I just got in. After that interview aired, a senior
campaign official said tonight that in those remarks, Clinton was referring
to the flu/concussion incident from 2012 and what happened Sunday. Those
were the two incidents of dehydration over the course of five years that
she was referring to in that interview tonight.
I mean, part of the issue here, part of the confusion, part of why I think
this is an even bigger story today than it might otherwise be is that,
initially, after the incident, the Clinton campaign said that she was
overheated. That`s what went wrong.
Hours later, they said, actually, she had pneumonia, it had previously been
diagnosed on Friday and they didn`t mention it.
Well, aside from the question why they didn`t have the explanation ready at
first and they didn`t disclose the diagnosis of pneumonia until two days
after she got it, does pneumonia make sense as an explanation for kind of -
- if not passing out then at least having your knees buckle like this?
Does dehydration make sense as a consequence of pneumonia? Does an
antibiotic regimen that you might be on for pneumonia make a person more
likely to pass out like that or to have your knees buckle like that for any
And as the Clinton campaign and the Trump campaign both weigh right now
literally tonight what they are about to release in terms of further
medical information from each of these candidates, we`re due to get more
information on each of them this week, what should we think of as a
comprehensive transparent full release of medical records? What do doctors
think count as a full release of medical history? And are we about to get
that from either of these candidates?
Joining us now is Dr. Natalie Azar. She`s NBC News medical contributor.
Dr. Azar, thank you for being here.
DR. NATALIE AZAR, NBC NEWS MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: Let me just ask you first if you feel like those are the right
questions, or you feel like there are some other directions we ought to be
AZAR: I think that`s totally appropriate. You can go with this.
MADDOW: OK. On the issue of what counts as a comprehensive medical record
MADDOW: – we don`t know what we`re going to get from Donald Trump or
Hillary Clinton other than both candidates in campaigns say something more
than they`ve already released is about to come out.
MADDOW: What do you expect? What counts as a medical record?
AZAR: It`s pretty straightforward. This is pretty much medical school
101. We expect either to receive when we`re receiving a patient from
someone else or sending the patient to another facility or doctor, there`s
a full list of medical problems, meaning the diagnosis, hypertension,
diabetes, what year they were diagnosed, any complications from those
things, any past surgeries, what medication the patient was on.
MADDOW: All the way back to childhood?
AZAR: Absolutely. Family history, something called a social history which
is – includes, are you married, do you have a job, but also includes
social behavior like smoking, alcohol, elicit drug use and whatnot. What I
think is interesting, you were pointing out earlier in your piece that, you
know, John McCain released a thousand page chart, and that sounds rather,
you know, overwhelming.
One can easily put together a thousand page chart if you include every
single laboratory test and every single chart note, for example, for eight
years of someone`s medical life. But in the sense, if someone doesn`t have
a remarkable medical history, that is, they don`t have a significant number
of medical issues as we heard from Secretary Clinton`s doctor, she doesn`t,
I wouldn`t expect more than a couple of pages.
It should be concise. Any hospitalization or any significant event or
complication from a surgical procedure, et cetera, can all be really
itemized and line-itemed relatively concisely. As I said earlier, we don`t
really write in prose so much when we`re writing someone`s medical history.
We really like to keep it that there is, you know, sort of medical lingo we
use and try to keep it pretty clear and concise and really summary rather
than, you know, a lengthy –
MADDOW: I`ve been struck throughout this issue, both in terms of Donald
Trump and the strange letter –
MADDOW: – that his gastroenterologist released and now with the concerns
raised by the Trump campaign and widespread concerns after people saw what
happened yesterday in New York about Hillary Clinton`s health, I`ve been
struck by my sort of human resistance to curiosity resistance here, like I
just, I feel like I`m wired to believe this stuff is private and I don`t
necessarily want to ask people to disclose things that humanly we shouldn`t
have any business seeking.
That said, candidates for president and presidents are held to a different
What is in the medical record that could reasonably be withheld on the
basis of privacy? If you were going to look at somebody`s 1,000-page
complete, what would you want to redact out of there to make sure that it
wasn`t relevant to people`s consideration?
AZAR: Right. I mean, I think generally a list – I would sort of classify
it as urogynecological. Do you we need to know that somebody had STDs? Do
I need to know the result of somebody`s pap smears? Do I need to know to
know the result of somebody`s mammograms, provided they were all benign and
there was no history of malignancy?
And I think the answer there is no, we really don`t need to know that. I
think those kinds of things – you know, I agree, the instinct is HIPAA and
otherwise is that your medical history is private, right? Just as an
example, when all of this started happening yesterday, is it yesterday now?
All the days are rolling into each other. I said to my team, I need a
detailed, give me a detailed analysis of what we know about Hillary
Clinton`s medical record.
And I started getting the information in and my immediate response in e-
mailing to my team was, what was the workup for the blood clot? What was
the workup for the fainting episode back then? You know, and so, those
questions were addressed by her doctor, Dr. Bardack –
MADDOW: In last summer.
AZAR: – in June of 2015. She was worked up for a disorder, because
that`s the appropriate thing to do when somebody had a blood clot, the
results were negative.
You know, when you work, somebody got for a fainting episode, guided by the
patient`s history, and the story and the family story and whatnot, there`s
an appropriate algorithm for working up passing out. It`s not the same for
everybody. And it appears that she`s been worked up appropriately.
Probably most importantly, at this juncture, for her physician to be
untruthful and even meaning even not lying but withholding something –
AZAR: – you know, she risks her merit, she risks her license. I just
can`t imagine that that`s the story that`s unfolding this week.
MADDOW: So you`re expecting an update and additional detail, but nothing
AZAR: Absolutely. I think, you know, it`s not, the timing of this has
been what I`d call the most auspicious thing about it. It`s dramatic to
see the stumble.
AZAR: It`s dramatic to see somebody almost faint. That`s called cerebral
hypoperfusion. They stumble. They look like they`re about to pass out.
But I think the explanation behind it is really rather ordinary.
MADDOW: Natalie Azar, NBC News medical contributor, Dr. Azar, thank you
very much. Appreciate having you here.
All right. Lots more ahead tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: I call it news opportunity cost. We`ve had so much news over the
past few days, and so much of it has been so pressing and so weird, that I
think we may have missed the weirdest news of all. What these guys are up
to here in this cell phone video. We really ought to talk about this. And
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JARED TAYLOR, EDITOR, AMERICAN RENASSIANCE: The egalitarian orthodoxy in
which the alt-right is in unanimity about rejection. And the rejection
probably with the most enthusiastic (INAUDIBLE) and the races are basically
equivalent and interchangeable. It`s very, very clear, that these agents
RICHARD SPENCER, EDITOR, RADIXJOURNAL.COM: I think it`s really about
Trump`s style that you look at that, and you think this is what a leader
looks like. It is about him. And it`s about projecting onto him our hopes
and dreams. Certainly, we have been, you could say, riding his coattails,
there`s been more interest in us because we are generally pro-Trump,
because we were inspired by him and things like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Certainly, we have been riding his coattails. We`re inspired by
him. You look at that and you say that`s what a leader looks like.
This past Friday, all of the leading low-lives of America`s white
supremacist movement gave a press conference in a fancy, Washington, D.C.
hotel ballroom. They gave a press conference about why Donald Trump is
their champion, why they as white supremacists feel so much more powerful
that they ever did before, how they feel heard, how he is their de facto
leader, he is so freaking awesome, look at him, he just looks like exactly
what we want. We are the white supremacists of America, we just want to be
taken seriously, and yes, we love Donald Trump. That was Friday afternoon.
Just a few hours later, Friday night, that was when Hillary Clinton made
her comment about “basket of deplorables”, saying that half of Donald
Trump`s supporters are racists, sexists, homophobic, xenophobic,
Islamophobic, you name it. And the Trump campaign and Republicans were
outraged that Hillary Clinton would dare describe half of Trump supporters
that way, and so, Hillary Clinton took back the word “half”.
But, you know what? Which side is the one that has the problem? When you
are arguing with your opponent about what percentage of your supporters are
literally white supremacists.
I mean, the “basket of deplorables” thing is not Mitt Romney`s 47 percent,
right? Hillary Clinton is not talking about half the country. She`s
talking about a subset of Donald Trump supporters, and the Trump campaign
and the Republican party can definitely give a great performance now about
how offended they are, but you do also have to account in that for this
much more problematic thing going on on their side of the aisle, you have
to account for the literal white supremacist press conference on Friday
praising Donald Trump as their fair leader who`s brought their movement so
much more attention than they`ve ever had before.
That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, Lawrence.
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