The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 9/13/2016
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: September 13, 2016
Guest: Yamiche Alcindor
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN HOST”: That`s “ALL IN” for this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts now. Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend.
HAYES: You bet.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us at this hour.
There`s a lot going on tonight.
Hillary Clinton`s presidential campaign just in the last few minutes, they
have confirmed that Secretary Clinton is going to be back on the campaign
trail as of Thursday. They`ve now formally announced it will be Thursday
night in Greensboro, North Carolina. The campaign says they`re accepting
RSVPs for this event with Secretary Clinton in Greensboro. So, now, we
officially know how much time Hillary Clinton has had to take off the
campaign trail because of this illness that cost her so much trouble at the
9/11 Memorial on Sunday.
Her downtime started after that on Sunday night. It`s going to include
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. But now, we`re told by the campaign
officially she will be back out there as of Thursday. So that`s brand-new
news as of tonight.
Also tonight, the Libertarian Party has just announced they`re going to
have their presidential candidate on the ballot in all 50 states. And that
must be very exciting for them. One problem is we do not think it is
necessarily true. They have made that announcement tonight. There is one
specific reason to be skeptical about that announcement. We`ve got that
story coming up for you tonight.
In terms of other things we`re keeping an eye on tonight, there`s a lot of
anticipation this evening about a cover story that “Newsweek” magazine is
expected to be running as of tomorrow. It`s a cover story on Donald Trump
written by Kurt Eichenwald who is sort of a marquee name investigative
reporter during the course of his career. He`s focused on investigative
reporting concerning business issues. He`s done seminal reporting on Wall
Street corruption and Enron and the medical industry and insurance
companies. That sort of thing.
Just after 4:00 Eastern Time this afternoon, reporter Kurt Eichenwald
posted this on Twitter, “If you know information on Trump`s medical
condition or taxes, e-mail this junk e-mail address. I must know who you
are, but I won`t tell.”
I mean, given Eichenwald`s history as a reporter, that`s intriguing.
Looking for tips to further his reporting.
But then a few minutes later he posted this, “My big cover story in
`Newsweek` that could change the dialogue about this election season would
be published online tomorrow.”
Now, Kurt Eichenwald has recently posted some very aggressive reporting and
some very pointed questions concerning Donald Trump`s health records. He
also today posted and then deleted some very inflammatory claims about
Donald Trump`s alleged health history. So, there was a lot of buzz and
speculation tonight that Eichenwald and “Newsweek” maybe are going to front
page something tomorrow concerning Donald Trump`s health.
We now believe that that story – instead, it will not be about Trump`s
health. It will be about Trump`s business dealings. But until it comes
out, which should either be overnight some time tonight or tomorrow, we
will have to wait and see. But if you know somebody who works in the news
business and their phones start going off like the finale in a really big
fireworks display around 4:00, 5:00 today, that`s why – anticipation about
that “Newsweek” story.
I think, again, that cover story will probably be out, I`m guessing by dawn
tomorrow at the latest. My expectation it will probably be earlier than
that. But we shall see.
On this issue of the candidate`s health, though, President Obama gave a
long, very energetic speech today in Philly on behalf of Hillary Clinton.
It was kind of a hot and sweaty day in Philly. The president`s speech went
on for a while very enthusiastic crowd. Lots of applause breaks. It was
also a long speech.
But sure enough, at this event in Philly, somebody fainted. And by now,
for better or worse, fainting is a phenomenon at the center of our
When it happened at this speech today, though, in Philly, President Obama
very clearly had an action plan and some constructive suggestions for the
rest of the crowd.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Democracy works, but here`s
the thing. Here – we have somebody who fainted. This is what happens.
They`ll be okay. Just give them a little room. Everybody bend their knees
one time. Just don`t lock your knees. Keep on bending them a little bit.
We`ll do a little exercise right now.
EMS folks, they`re right in front, if you can find somebody. Drink some
water. I love you, too. But bend your knees.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I love the whole crowd kind of bobbing along with him.
President Obama speaking today in Philadelphia leading the crowd in some
anti-fainting exercises. This is actually overall pretty remarkable
campaign appearance from President Obama tonight, something we haven`t
quite seen yet from him. We`re going to have more on that coming up
On this health issue, though, we`ve also got some strange, even kind of
baffling new reporting, new information about the health records or at
least the health information we`re about to get from our two presidential
candidates. Both of them are in a strange, if not unprecedented, position
on this particular issue. This is usually the least controversial thing in
But this year, it`s different. On Hillary Clinton`s side, it`s different
right now because she had that health episode in public on Sunday at the
9/11 memorial. Today will be her second day off the campaign trail resting
and recovering from what her campaign says was a pneumonia diagnosis. As I
mentioned at the top of the show, she`s now announced – it`s now announced
by the campaign that she`ll be back on the campaign trail by Thursday night
in North Carolina.
So, in terms of her medical records and us expecting additional medical
information from her at this point in the campaign, I mean, this had be a
second release of medical records in the middle of the campaign after she
said she wouldn`t release any further medical records beyond the doctor`s
letter she put out last summer, but she`s in an unusual position around
that having to revise her earlier statement, that that was all we`re going
to get about her health, essentially in a way that`s governed by necessity
because she had that incident in public on Sunday afternoon. That`s what`s
happening on the Clinton side.
On the Trump side, he is also in a very unusual position when it comes to
his health because his forthcoming disclosure of additional medical
information, that`s necessitated on his side mostly by the fact that the
initial document he put out to attest to his health was such a weird
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. HAROLD BORNSTEIN, TRUMP`S DOCTOR: I`ve been the personal physician of
Mr. Donald J. Trump since 1980. His previous position was my father Dr.
Jacob Bornstein. Over the past 39 years, I`m pleased to report that Mr.
Trump has had no significant medical problem.
Mr. Trump`s had a recent complete exam that showed only positive results.
Sentence is probably not right. But written correctly. But I got a “D” in
His blood pressure is 110/65 and his laboratory tests are astonishingly
excellent. His physical strength and stamina are extraordinary.
If elected, Mr. Trump, I can say, unequivocally, will be the healthiest
individual ever elected to the presidency.
NBC NEWS: Dr. Bornstein, phrases like astonishingly excellent seem a
little bit over the top to some people. What do you think about that? Is
that the way that you write most of your medical letters?
BORNSTEIN: No, but for Mr. Trump I wrote that letter that way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That is Donald Trump`s gastroenterologist reading out loud
portions of this unusual letter that he signed his name to which remains
the only public documentation that Donald Trump has ever released to
describe his own health status. And, of course, it has been widely noted
that phrases like astonishingly excellent and extraordinary strength and
him being the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency, sort of
widely noted, right, widely litigated that phrases like that are weird for
a medical document let alone a document saying that all of his test results
were positive. That`s not usually a good thing when all your test results
But lost in the discussion of that document, I think, it`s also worth
noting, particularly at this time when there`s so much renewed focus on
this issue, it`s worth noting when NBC News was able to do a follow-up
interview with the doctor who wrote that letter for Donald Trump, he didn`t
just explain himself about that hyperbolic and somewhat unprofessional
language, he also really qualified and dialed back and got much less
ambitious in terms of what he was willing to say about how healthy Donald
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NBC NEWS: Do you have any medical concerns about him?
BORNSTEIN: Medical concerns about him. I guess you have the same average
medical concerns you have for a 70-year-old man.
NBC NEWS: The only other question I think people are curious about, you
know, he would be the healthiest person ever to take office.
BORNSTEIN: Well, I think most of the list of presidents from the United
States like Woodrow Wilson who was walking around with a hemorrhage in his
brain and Eisenhower, one after the other we have not had very – I mean,
these people are older and they develop adult illnesses. I don`t think
there`s a healthiest person who elected, you didn`t elect a 22-year-old.
NBC NEWS: How could you know he would be in the best health of any
president in the history of the United States?
BORNSTEIN: I like that sentence. I like that sentence, to be quite honest
with you. All the rest of them are either sick or dead. We`ve had
everything as president, people with dementia and people with tumors.
We`ve had everything as president. We`ve had psychotic and paranoids and
we`ve had all in my own little lifetime. We`ve had plenty of very
disturbed people and fortunately they were held in check.
NBC NEWS: Do you think he would be fit to be president of the United
BORNSTEIN: Yes, I think he would be as fit as all the rest of them.
There`s an incidence and prevalence of disease. The incidence of disease
was out there. I think the prevalence is what walks into the office and
you identify. Who knows?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Who knows? He`s as fit as any of us. I mean –
When interviewed by NBC News, when asked to elaborate on his sort of over
the top, unusual letter attesting to Donald Trump`s superhuman health,
which again as of this point is all we`ve got about Trump`s health, the
doctor who wrote that evaluation was not nearly as much of a booster of
Donald Trump`s health as the letter had made him seem.
Just one last piece of this. It should also be noted that the doctor said
he was rushed into writing that letter, that it was not proofread, that the
Trump campaign only gave him five minutes to write it. They had a car
waiting outside while he completed it. The doctor`s wife who works in the
office raised the prospect that that whole astonishingly excellent line
about Donald Trump`s health, that might have actually been meant as a joke.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NBC NEWS: The letter does sound peculiar. I know there were the physician
on television on another network who is saying, no one would say positive
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know what –
BORNSTEIN: How much time do you have to sit here in five minutes? I had
five minutes to write that letter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK and –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
BORNSTEIN: Five minutes to write that letter while the driver waited for
NBC NEWS: So you got a request from Mr. Trump to please have a letter –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody needs a letter. Everybody needs a letter.
Hillary needed a letter. Donald needed a letter.
NBC NEWS: So he came to you to call –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He needed this letter and we got his letter. My
husband does have a sense of humor and so the “astonishing” word could
sound however you interpret it. Dr. Bornstein wrote that. This is Dr.
Bornstein, with his long hair and his earrings. You know, it`s not who he
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: My husband does have a sense of humor, so that astonishing word.
That is the origin of all of the medical information that we`ve got right
now on the Republican candidate for president who would be the oldest
person ever sworn in for a first term as president if he is elected. And
so, yes, that`s why that needs to be cleaned up on the Republican side.
Well, we have now got the press release for “The Dr. Oz Show”, announcing
that the day after tomorrow Donald Trump will reveal his own personal
health regimen on that daytime TV show, quote, “Dr. Oz one on one with
Donald Trump, a no holds barred conversation you`ll be talking about.”
They put out the press release a couple of days ago. Today we got
elaboration on just how no holds barred that conversation will be. Turns
the out quite a few holds will be barred in that conversation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS: Then, we`re going to have the release of the
Donald Trump records. He`s already taken the exam last week. And you are
going to go over the results with him live on television? Or taped on
DR. MEHMET OZ, THE DR. OZ SHOW: Well, we haven`t taped the show yet.
We`re going to tape it on Wednesday to air on Thursday. It`s really his
decision, his personal records. I want to ask him pointed questions about
KILMEADE: What if there`s embarrassing things on there?
OZ: I bet he won`t release them.
KILMEADE: It will still be his decision?
OZ: His decision. The metaphor for me is this is a doctor`s office, the
studio. So, I`m not going to ask him questions that he doesn`t want to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: So, it`s a no holds barred conversation except I`m not going to
ask him questions he doesn`t want answered. What if there`s embarrassing
things on there? I bet he won`t release him. It is going to be his
decision? It`s his decision.
So, Donald Trump won`t be asked any questions he doesn`t want to be
answered and anything embarrassing or troubling in his medical records just
won`t be included in it. This is what they`re doing the as their full
reveal of Donald Trump`s medical history. And it`s not like Donald Trump
is being examined by this doctor who has the TV talk show. It`s somebody
else who did the medical exam apparently last week.
Donald Trump somebody last week appears to have ditched his traveling press
pool and gotten a physical exam somewhere, but reporters didn`t witness him
going to any doctor. We don`t know where the medical exam was or who did
it. It is not clear if we`re ever going to find that out.
There had been three different discussions about that today. One was with
Donald Trump`s campaign manager when interviewed by Andrea Mitchell.
Andrea asked Kellyanne Conway flat-out if the medical exam for Trump where
this medical report is going to be revealed on daytime TV, she asked flat-
out if it was done by the guy who wrote the initial sort of crazy letter
about Trump`s health who then later said, part of it at least was joking
and he wrote it in five minutes.
Andrea asked today, is it that same doctor who did the exam? Donald
Trump`s campaign manager said she doesn`t know.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: So, what are we going to learn about the
medical condition, his health report tomorrow from Donald Trump?
KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, Mr. Trump had a physical
late last week, Andrea. He believes that`s important for the public to
know what his basic health condition is. And he has said that the doctor
is preparing his report and that it will be made available this week.
MITCHELL: And was it with Dr. Bornstein?
CONWAY: That I don`t know. I was not present for his physical.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: On the one hand, I`m glad that candidates don`t have to bring
their campaign manager into the physical. There`s enough reason not to run
for office, right?
But on the other hand, who did the physical? It matters given what we know
about the first attestation that we got to Donald Trump`s health and how
his doctor approached that letter, right? It matters. A discussion on
that point was on FOX News in advance of their interview with the TV doctor
in which one of the hosts suggested it wasn`t Dr. Bornstein who did the
exam, it was a different doctor, but we don`t know.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is Donald Trump`s doctor that`s examining him now and
his specimen now is that the same doctor that said he was totally fit, the
most healthiest to run for president?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s a great question. I do not think – I think
it`s a different doctor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: You think it`s a different doctor.
Well, is it a different doctor? Let`s ask the TV guy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KILMEADE: When I see what you do on Thursday, will I feel like I know what
Donald Trump`s health is by the end of your show?
OZ: You should. That`s the goal.
KILMEADE: If he tells you, don`t say this, don`t say that, don`t say this,
you won`t. Will you say that you did not want me to say my blood pressure,
you don`t want me to talk about my –
OZ: If he puts limitations on, I`ll acknowledge them.
KILMEADE: But you`re not doing the exam?
OZ: I`m not doing the exam. I don`t want to be his doctor or Secretary
KILMEADE: Would you want to talk to his doctor?
OZ: I will talk to his doctor if they allow me to. At this point, they
say ask whatever questions you want.
KILMEADE: Of Donald.
OZ: Of Donald.
KILMEADE: But would you – are going to ask to get access to his doctor?
OZ: I have not asked to access that doctor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I haven`t asked to talk to the doctor. I haven`t asked, why would
So, to be clear at a point when the health of two candidates and them
releasing their medical records is overt as it has been this late in a
presidential election, we are on the one hand, waiting on the Hillary
Clinton campaign to release some updated version of her medical records.
We do not have any idea what that will be, how comprehensive will be, in
what form those will be delivered. Trust me, we have pressed – I
personally have pressed to try to get that information in terms of what we
All they`ll tell us is that whatever we`re going to get, it will come by
the end of the week. That`s all we know from Clinton and we`re waiting on
On the Donald Trump side of it, what the Trump campaign has decided to do
is make a spectacle of it. They`re going to have their candidate go on a
TV talk show to have a TV doctor reveal to the studio audience what`s in
notes from a physical exam taken by an undisclosed doctor who may or may
not be the doctor whose previously letter was intended at least partially
as a joke.
The ground rules for that discussion or that Donald Trump will not include
anything embarrassing or that he doesn`t want to talk about in those
records that will be revealed on TV and he`ll not be asked to talk about
anything he doesn`t want to talk about and nothing will be included in the
discussion that makes Donald Trump the least bit unhappy. We`re not
allowed to know nor will anybody direct any questions to the actual doctor
who did this supposed medical exam that happened last week in secret after
Trump ditched reporters to do it.
So, good. We`re going to get all that cleared up then, we`ll be able to
move right on. Astonishing indeed.
There`s a lot going on tonight. There`s a lot of news still unfolding
through the course of this hour and into this evening. Busy show tonight.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: In 2008, in the city of Philadelphia, there were precincts in the
election that year that voted 100 percent for Barack Obama for president.
In 2008 election, in 57 precincts, there were zero votes for John McCain
and all votes cast for Barack Obama, 57 precincts.
When President Obama ran for re-election in 2012, Philadelphia did not give
him 100 percent of the vote in 57 precincts again. It gave him 100 percent
of the vote in 59 precincts, even more. Philadelphia really likes Barack
And today, in his first campaign appearance since I think July, that
feeling was on display from Philadelphians toward President Obama and it
seemed like the feeling was mutual.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hello, Philly!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
Hello, Philadelphia! It is good to be back in Philly.
If there`s one thing I can tell you, Philadelphia, nobody fully understands
the demands of my job, this job of the president, until you actually sit
behind that desk. Look, I didn`t understand it before I had the job. You
think you do.
(CROWD CHANTING “THANK YOU”)
No, no, no. Hold on. I appreciate that. But I`m not gone yet, so don`t -
- save the thank yous. I`m not finished yet. I got a few more months.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: President Obama is back on the campaign trail as of today. What
the White House sees as a particularly auspicious time for him to be back
out there. Whether that is true and how we`ll know, that`s ahead. Stay
MADDOW: Breaking news and I believe this is exclusive to us. We just got
Earlier this hour, at the top of this hour, I`ve talked about there being a
lot of anticipation tonight, particularly in the news media about what is
expected to be on the cover of “Newsweek” magazine tomorrow morning.
“Newsweek” says it`s a big one. They`ve been building this tonight as
something that will change the course of the campaign.
Well, thanks to my excellent staff, we`ve just obtained a piece of that
“Newsweek” reporting. Now, the article is not out yet. As far as we know,
nobody has an embargoed copy of it. We do not have a complete copy of it.
But we have obtained what we believe is basically the nut graph and the
lead in this story and I`m going to share with it now with the caveat this
whole article is not published yet but we believe this is what “Newsweek”
is going to run with tomorrow morning in this cover story.
Quote, “A close examination by `Newsweek` of the Trump Organization,
including confidential interviews with business executives and some of its
international partners, reveals an enterprise with deep ties to global
financiers, foreign politicians and even criminals, although there is no
evidence the Trump Organization has engaged in any illegal activities. It
also reveals a web of contractual entanglements that could not be just
canceled. If Trump moves into the White House and his family continues to
receive any benefit from the company during or even after his presidency,
almost every foreign policy decision he makes will raise serious conflicts
of interest and ethical quagmires.”
So we got that from this “Newsweek” cover story that`s due to break
tomorrow morning. We also got this. And this is a separate paragraph.
This is not contiguous in the story, as far as I understand it.
Quote, “If Donald Trump is elected president, will he and his family
permanently sever all connections to the Trump organization, a sprawling
business empire that has spread a secretive financial web across the world?
Or will Trump instead choose to be the most conflicted president in
American history, one whose business interests will constantly jeopardize
the security of the United States?”
Again, we`ve got this exclusively tonight. This is from a piece that is
not yet published by “Newsweek” magazine. It is expected to be their
brand-new cover story that`s due out tomorrow. We`ll see its full scope
then. But this is obviously very provocative stuff, alleging Trump
Organization ties to criminals and foreign politicians, raising the
prospect that Trump and his family will have to permanently sever ties to
the Trump Organization.
That`s what we got as of tonight. We`ll let you know more as we learn
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Now, look, look, can I just say I am really into electing Hillary
Clinton? Like this is not me going through the motions here. I really,
really, really want to elect Hillary Clinton.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: President Obama today in Philly taking up much needed Democratic
space on the campaign trail as Hillary Clinton herself continues to
recuperate at home after what her campaign says is a bout with pneumonia.
She`ll be back on the campaign trail as of Thursday.
But if there was any question as to whether President Obama would be
willing to support not just her but also go after her component, those
questions should be put to rest now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: And then you got The Donald who just last week went on Russian
state television to talk down our military and to curry favor with Vladimir
Putin. He loves this guy. Loves this guy.
And when they interview or asked him, why do you support this guy? He
said, he`s a strong guy. Look, he`s got an 82 percent poll rating. Well,
yes, so – Saddam Hussein had a 90 percent poll rating.
I mean, if you control the media and you have taken away everybody`s civil
liberties and you jail dissidents, that`s what happens. You know what the
pollster calls you up and says do you support the guy who if you don`t
support him he might throw you in jail, you say, yes, I love that guy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: At the end of a series of riffs today on what he thinks is wrong
with Donald Trump, President Obama today also got – it wasn`t exactly –
it wasn`t self-deprecating, it was more like reflective. But it was about
the kind of appeal that he has had as a national candidate and why Hillary
Clinton isn`t always seen the same way. This is interesting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Yes, she`s got her share of critics just like I do and she`s been
caricatured by the right and sometimes by the left. And she`s been accused
of everything you can imagine. And has been subjected to more scrutiny and
what I believe is more unfair criticism than anybody out here.
And she doesn`t complain about it. And you know what? That`s what happens
when you`re under the microscope for 40 years, but what sets Hillary apart
is that she just keeps on going. And she doesn`t stop caring, and she
doesn`t stop trying, and she never stops fighting for us, even if we
haven`t always appreciated it.
And look, I understand we`re a young country. We`re a restless country.
We always like the new, shiny thing.
I benefited from that when I was a candidate. And we take for granted
sometimes what is steady and true. And Hillary Clinton`s steady, and she
And the young people who are here who all you`ve been seeing is just the
nonsense that`s been on TV, you maybe don`t remember all the work that she
has had to do and all the things she has had to overcome and all the good
that has happened because of her efforts. But you need to remember, you
need to understand this, if you`re serious about our democracy, then you`ve
got to be with her. She`s in the arena, and you can`t leave her in there
by herself. You got get in there with her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: President Obama today making his case for Hillary Clinton, and
there are two reasons why the White House and the Democrats I think feel
like he`s probably the single-best messenger there is for Hillary Clinton
and her campaign right now.
The first is the economic numbers that came out today. Census Bureau today
reporting the biggest one-year jump in American household income since the
1960s. Also, the largest drop in the number of Americans living in poverty
since the 1960s.
These economic numbers like these – on these issues, they`re so much more
important than just the state of the stock market or the overall
unemployment rate but actually, oh, by the way, those are pretty good right
now, too. Combine that with the fact that President Obama`s own approval
rating right now is at 58 percent. It`s as high as it`s been since six
months after he was sworn in.
And yes, there he is. That`s who they want to be as visible and loud as
possible on the campaign trail from here on out. Good thing he seems to be
MADDOW: When political scientists look at contemporary elections, an
interesting sliver of them will say don`t tell me who the candidates are,
don`t tell me what kind of campaign each candidate is running. Just tell
me two things. Tell me, number one, how`s the economy and, number two, how
does America view the outgoing president?
Well, with both of those indicators looking up right now, is the Clinton
campaign poised to benefit from those things? And does this mean we should
expect more Obama on the campaign trail like we saw today in that
rollicking appearance he had in Philly?
Joining us now is my friend, Steve Kornacki, MSNBC political correspondent,
the man who cracks political math problems for us.
Steve, thanks for being here.
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Sure.
MADDOW: Do the approval ratings of outgoing presidents tell you what`s
going to happen in terms of electing their successor?
KORNACKI: They can, but there`s lots of catches to this. I mean, on the
one end of it, when you look at the least popular two-term president in
modern history, it was George W. Bush and that was an indicator of how the
2008 election was going to go. He was down in the low 30s, it was 30
percent approval rating. He was an absolute albatross on John McCain and
Democrats got basically the biggest landslide they`ve gotten since LBJ in
2008. So, absolutely, that played a role then.
If you look at the highest approval rating in an election year though in
the modern era, it was Bill Clinton in the year 2000 and it was a very
complicated because the job approval was high, the personal disapproval in
the wake of the Monica Lewinsky scandal was very high as well. Al Gore
never figured out how he wanted to use Bill Clinton, if they wanted to use
Bill Clinton in that campaign and ended, obviously, Gore wins the popular
vote by a little bit, but a lot of people looked at that and said that Gore
left money on the table in the 2000 election. So, it`s a little
When I look at Obama there, I`m not so sure the question is the breadth of
his popularity as much as it is the intensity of his popularity with some
of the key groups. You know, we talk about all the time, we talk about his
support with African-American voters, with Latino voters, with Asian
voters. He shattered records with those groups but also young voters,
voters under the age of 30, the president basically, you can look at some
measures right now, twice as popular as Hillary Clinton. That might be a
think to look at, when you look at how he could help Hillary Clinton, one
of her weakest groups, young voters, is one of his strongest groups.
MADDOW: So, one of the things that we don`t know which will help define
future sort of poli-sci common wisdom on this is whether or not stark and
intense approval with specific demographics like that can be transferred,
whether he can encourage people who view him so positively to transfer
their appeal to her?
KORNACKI: And I think that`s part of – it`s sort of the evolution of
politics. We used to think of these things, basic level in terms of like,
well, the president is popular and everybody is going to be more likely to
vote for the president`s party. We`re so segmented, so fractured, we`re so
polarized even the median figures, the headline is obviously good news for
the country. These are encouraging numbers.
But there`s a stark divide in there. The benefit is really going to urban
and metropolitan areas. If you go to rural areas, you really don`t see any
benefit. And that tracks with our politics right now.
If you look at where the president is most popular, where Hillary Clinton
is doing the best, it`s in metropolitan America. If you look at where
Donald Trump is doing best, it`s in blue collar white America. And you see
that divide right there.
So, even that news, which is headline is great for the president, obviously
great for Hillary Clinton, great for the Democrats, if you look at the
politics of it, the political benefit will probably be felt in the area
that`s already sort of blue America and the backlash to the extent there is
any is where Donald Trump is already strong.
MADDOW: That`s right. It was like the biggest caveat in that reporting
today in the rural area, we`re seeing this really big jump, historic jump
in median income but in the rural areas –
KORNACKI: Doesn`t go across the board. Right.
MADDOW: Fascinating. Steve Kornacki, you`re very smart.
KORNACKI: Happy to do it.
MADDOW: Good to have you here.
Steve hosts the 4:00 p.m. hour here on MSNBC which you already knew because
you watch it every day. I know. I can see you through the TV.
I`ll be right back.
MADDOW: Interesting Flint update. The Donald Trump campaign announced
today that their candidate is going to be going to Flint, Michigan,
tomorrow. Flint, as you know is a place where the entire city`s water
supply was poisoned with lead, where residents still cannot drink from the
Donald Trump told “The Detroit News”, quote, this is a situation that would
never have happened if I were president.”
According to the paper, Trump then, quote, “speculated that Flint`s crisis
was the result of companies profiting from the city`s switch to the Flint
River.” Trump said, quote, “and probably they wanted it to happen because
companies were going to make a lot of money from the switch. That`s
probably what happened. Who knows?”
Donald Trump speaking to the Detroit News today. Who knows? But it
definitely wouldn`t have happened if I`d been president.
Donald Trump has apparently requested a tour of the Flint water plant.
That`s sort of where things get interesting in this story.
Just this past hour, Flint`s indefatigable Mayor Karen Weaver put out a
sort of forceful statement making it clear she`s not necessarily happy with
this last-minute Flint announcement from Donald Trump and the Trump
It should be noted that the mayor isn`t in Flint. She`s in D.C. because
the Senate today finally advanced the bill that would include emergency
funding for Flint, part of which would go to replacing the city`s water
pipes, which really needs to be done. Flint`s mayor is working in D.C.,
but she put out this statement tonight after Trump made the campaign
announcement saying she was basically blind-sided by this Donald Trump
campaign decision to come visit her city.
Quote, “Neither Donald Trump nor any staff members from the Trump campaign
have ever reached out to her,” meaning the mayor, “since the Flint water
crisis was officially recognized as an emergency in December 2015 and Trump
never let the mayor know that he was coming to the city this week. The
mayor also notes that city of Flint employees and the staff at the Flint
water plant are focused with dealing with the continued contamination in
the drinking water and cannot afford the disruption of a last-minute
Quote, “Flint is focused on fixing the problems caused by lead
contamination of our drinking water, not photo ops.”
Now, it should be noted that Flint Mayor Karen Weaver is an outspoken
supporter of Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton made her own visit to Flint
more than six months ago – but enjoy your trip, Mr. Trump. A Flint City
spokesperson tells us tonight that they have received the Trump campaign`s
request for a tour and, quote, “We are working to fulfill it as we do all
requests for tours.”
So get in line. Sounds like you`re going to get a very, very warm welcome.
Joining us now is Yamiche Alcindor. She`s the reporter with “The New York
Times” who covers the Clinton and Trump campaigns.
Yamiche, it`s nice to see you. Thanks for being with us tonight.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: So, this was – this was a surprise both in terms of the timing
and the target of the visit. Do we know anything about why the Trump
campaign is going to Flint?
ALCINDOR: I think a lot of this had to do with the fact that he`s still
trying to reach out to communities of color. Flint is between about 57
percent African-American. The fact and, of course, Flint is in this place
that`s very working class, very people that are really understanding why –
how the economy`s still struggling.
So, Donald Trump is really going there to say, hey, look, I can, one, be
somebody who would help you, but two, I`m kind of a leader in the city.
You know, he said already like, as you said, that this would not happen if
I was president. So, I think, really, he`s kind of going there to kind of
show himself as being presidential and showing himself as caring about this
And I think the other thing that`s really going on here is that Donald
Trump – I mean, Hillary Clinton has really made this part of her political
campaign in the primaries she was at Flint. She spoke at churches at
Flint. She really tried to make Flint her issue. Really spoke out about
For Donald Trump to come here really just says, you know what? Hey,
Hillary Clinton, this is not only your issue. I can come here, too.
MADDOW: One of the things that is still developing in this story over the
course of this evening is this strong statement from Flint`s mayor.
Flint`s mayor is a very high profile part of this story because she came
She was elected in. She was elected, basically, because of the crisis.
She`s been a very high-profile, national figure in terms of trying to get
this fixed in Flint. She`s got, to some extent, the ear of the national
And she`s giving Donald Trump more than a cold shoulder for this visit. I
don`t know if Trump is looking for a fight here, in terms of the way he`s
done outreach to communities of color, he doesn`t seem to like to be in
direct conflict with individual leaders, has he?
ALCINDOR: He has. And in the past – I mean, we just a couple of weeks
ago, he was in Detroit and went to this black church, and the pastor was
someone not going to be giving him problems, he had said over and over
again that Donald Trump wasn`t going to speak. And in the end, he let
Donald Trump speak to his congregation, so that was a place that was
welcoming to him.
I think in some ways, it`s really questionable that he would come to the
city of Flint, because as you mentioned, the mayor has endorsed Hillary
Clinton. But also she said, and local reporters have noted this just
tonight, that she`s said no to this water tour, this idea that you`re going
to drop in in Flint at the last minute and tour this water plant, it`s not
something that she`s welcoming him at all.
In some ways, he`s putting himself in a situation that could be chaotic.
It`s going to be hard to see whether people will be openly criticizing him.
The mayor isn`t there to confront him face-to-face.
But her staff and workers and people in Flint, Michigan who have seen
Hillary Clinton several times come to their city already, I don`t know how
well coming they will be. And, of course, I`m sure your viewers know, the
polls are really crystal clear. He has very little support in the African-
American community, And he`s going into a place that`s going to be highly
African-American with many people wondering, the people that he`s been
talking to, saying what do you have to lose, these are the people he`s
Especially in Flint, Michigan, not only do they have issues with the inner
city and the economy, but the fact that this water crisis is still ongoing,
I think a lot of people don`t understand that they still have not had their
water fixed. People are still struggling with that. Just tonight, I was
talking to a lawmaker there and they`re still, people are really still
struggling with that.
MADDOW: Yamiche Alcindor, a reporter with “The New York Times” – Yamiche,
thanks for this. Appreciate having you here on this tonight.
MADDOW: What Yamiche is saying in there in terms of it not being fixed is
absolutely correct. Part of what`s being debated in the Senate and if it
passes the Senate will have to go to the Republican-controlled House, is
this emergency funding bill, all these years later, for trying to fix water
infrastructure around the country, including water infrastructure and
service lines in Flint. That`s still an open question in Washington as to
whether or not that`s even going to pass, let alone before the election.
But in the short term, watch to see what happens tomorrow when Trump goes
to Flint. Again, what we`ve got from the mayor is the mayor saying that
the city`s of Flint employees and staff are focused on dealing with
contamination in the drinking water and can`t afford the disruption of a
last-minute visit, essentially saying no to Donald Trump touring that water
plant. We`ll see tomorrow what happens.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: There are two major partying in our democracy. There are lots of
non-major parties, but in a big national election, the third parties, the
minor parties only matter in the eventual outcome if it`s a really, really
close race between the two big ones.
Well, we don`t know how the close the race is going to be between Hillary
Clinton and Donald Trump this year. But the interests of the Green Party
and in particular, the Libertarian Party have been on everybody`s mind when
we see the polls stay pretty close heading into the last months o the
Well, the Libertarian Party made a statement about ballot access in all 50
states. You might have seen this announcement tonight, sort of sent a
little shock wave through the electorate tonight. There`s a problem with
the announcement. That`s next.
MADDOW: I think something in your “New York Times” tomorrow is going to be
wrong. The Libertarian Party`s candidate for president announced he`s
qualified for the ballot in all 50 states. Former New Mexico Governor Gary
Johnson tonight announced that he will make the ballot all 50 states,
coast-to-coast, plus D.C. very exciting, quote, “With the majority of
Americans wanting a choice other than Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton,
today, we know for certain that on election day every voter in America will
have that alternative option.”
With respect to the good governor, we are not certain that we know that.
Not yet, and it`s because of Rhode Island. To qualify for the ballot in
Rhode Island, you need 1,000 valid signatures on your ballot petitions.
The good folks at the secretary of state`s office in Rhode Island tells us
tonight that so far, Gary Johnson has tallied up 929 ballot signatures,
which is a lot, but it`s not 1,000.
Towns and cities in Rhode Island do have until Thursday afternoon to finish
sending in their valid signatures, so he could get there by then, but the
secretary of state`s office tells us he`s not there yet.
Now, the weird thing here is that the national Libertarian Party told us
tonight when we called them about this, that they were told by Rhode Island
on Friday that Gary Johnson crossed the threshold already, but I don`t know
why Rhode Island told them that, because Rhode Island told us tonight, that
the libertarians are still short by 71 signatures.
Now, it`s only 71 signatures. The libertarians may yet close that gap, but
they appear to not be there yet. Despite this announcement from the
candidate tonight and despite what is apparently planned to be a full-page
ad in the “New York Times” tomorrow. We shall see. We`ll keep you posted.
That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL.”
Good evening, Lawrence.
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