The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 11/7/2016
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: November 7, 2016
Guest: Amy Klobuchar
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Philadelphia, you`ve got
someone outstanding to vote for in Hillary Clinton. I`ll be honest – I`ve
had to bite my tongue after all of the nonsense that people have said about
this election. I can only imagine what Bill and Chelsea have been going
through, the vicious, crazy attacks, the double standards applied to her.
They are like nothing we have ever seen before. And what makes it worse is
that most of the people saying this stuff, they don`t really believe it.
They know better.
Don`t forget, when Hillary was a senator, when she was my secretary of
state, she was really popular. People saw how effective she was, how she
crossed party lines to get things done. Before she announced her candidacy
for president, Republican leaders described her as – and I`m quoting now -
- as very impressive, someone who does an impressive job, one of the most
effective secretaries of state.
Well, they were right then. I agreed with Republicans then. Hillary did a
great job for America. She`s a big reason why we`re more respected around
But then when it was politically expedient, those same Republicans began
tearing her down. And look, when you`re subjected to unrelenting negative
fire, it takes a toll.
But here`s the thing about Hillary: she doesn`t complain, she doesn`t
buckle, she brushes it off like the American people, she is strong and
tough and she knows that government service is not about her, it`s about
you – your struggles, your dreams.
Throughout her career, Hillary has followed that Methodist creed her mom
taught her. Do all of the good you can for all of the people you can in
all the ways you can for as long as you can. And she doesn`t plan on
stopping now. That`s why I know she will work her heart out for you.
Everybody is still in need of a good job or a raise. For every child who
needs a sturdier ladder out of poverty, for every American who hasn`t felt
the progress of these past years, she will work. She will deliver. She
won`t just tweet.
But she will need your help and she will need help in Washington. If you
want Hillary to continue the progress we`ve made, you need to give her
allies in the Senate like Katie McGinty. You cannot – there she is right
there. You cannot just stick Hillary with Republicans in Congress who are
already promising even more unprecedented dysfunction in Washington. That
would be hard to do but they are promising it – more shutdowns, more
obstruction, years of hearings and investigations.
You know, gridlock is not mysterious. It`s not something that happens
because both sides are being equally unreasonable. It has been a stated
Republican strategy since I took office and the only way to break it is to
make those who engage in it pay a price, by electing more Democrats
Katie McGinty`s opponent, Pat Toomey, don`t boo, vote. I give him credit
for working with us on background checks that 90 percent of Americans
support. But you know, that position rings hollow when he supports a
Republican leader who blocked that bill. And it doesn`t come close to
making up for his repeated votes to make up for the wealthy just like
Donald Trump would, to block a higher minimum wage just like Donald Trump
would, to repeal the Affordable Care Act, like Donald Trump would.
We do not need a Trump/Toomey economy. We need someone who`s never
forgotten her working class routes. The daughter of a restaurant hostess
and a Philadelphia beat cop, somebody who went to college with the help of
scholarships and student loans. Katie McGinty won`t just be with you part
of the way, she`ll be with you all of the way, and that`s why you`ve got to
vote for her.
Pennsylvania, if you think endless gridlock will help your family, you
should vote Republican. But if you believe American can do better than
that, if you care about jobs that families can live on, and child care they
can afford, if you care about equal pay for women and higher minimum wage
for workers, you need to vote for Democrats up and down the ticket, people
like Hillary, people like Katie McGinty, people who will move America
Listen, I know we live in a cynical time and I know elections and all the
negative ads tend to heighten that cynicism. Last week, a journalist asked
me if I still believe the optimism I expressed that night back in Boston 12
years, that we were more than a collection of red and blue states, that
there was not a liberal America or a conservative America, a black America
or a white America. There was just the United States of America.
He asked me if I still held on to the hope of 2008, if I still believed in
change. After all, he said, the country`s so divided. Hillary`s in such a
close race with someone who stands in total opposition for all that you`ve
ever stood for.
Maybe her vision was misguided, he suggested, or at least very naive.
And it was a fair question. I had to acknowledge that I hadn`t fully
counted on that when I first came into office and had to save the economy.
I didn`t anticipate the way social media would magnify our divisions and
muddy up facts. None of us knew then how deep the Great Recession would
cut and how many people would suffer and how it would make so many people
anxious about their futures and their kids` futures even after the economy
But despite all that, I told him, the answer is yes. I still believe in
hope. I`m still as optimistic as ever about our future and that`s because
of you, the American people.
In my visits to schools and factories, war theaters, national parks and the
letters you`ve written me and the tears you`ve shed over a lost loved one,
I have seen again and again your goodness and your strength and your heart.
In 2008, you gave me a chance, a skinny guy with a funny name, and for
these past eight years, I saw how hard you worked in the face of impossible
odds. I saw the values you teach your children. I saw the way you treat
strangers in need. I`ve seen the young men and women in uniform who meet
every mission and the military families who serve and sacrifice just as
well, and the wounded warriors who never, ever quit.
You bet on me all those years ago and I will always be grateful for the
privilege you gave me to serve. But I`ll be honest with you, I`ve always
had the better odds, because I`ve always bet on you.
And America, I`m betting on you one more time. I`m betting that tomorrow,
most mom and dads across America won`t cast their vote for someone who
denigrates their daughters from the highest office in the land. I`m
betting that most Americans won`t vote for someone who considers minorities
and immigrants and people with disabilities as inferior, who considers
people who practice different faiths as objects of suspicion.
I`m betting that tomorrow, true conservatives won`t cast our vote for
someone with no regard for the Constitution. I`m betting that young people
turn out to vote because your future is at stake.
I`m betting that men across this country will have no problem voting for
the more qualified candidate who happens to be a woman.
I`m betting that African-Americans will vote in big numbers because this
journey we`ve been on was never about the color of a president but the
content of his character.
I bet America will reject the politics of resentment and the politics blame
and choose a politics that says we are stronger together. I am betting
that tomorrow you will reject fear and you`ll choose hope. I`m betting
that the wisdom and decency and generosity of the American people will once
again win the day and that is a bet that I have never, ever lost.
Philadelphia, in this place, where our founders forged the documents of
freedom, in this place where they gave us the tools to perfect our union,
if you share my faith, then I ask you to vote. If you want a president who
shares our faith in America, who`s lived that faith in America, who will
finally shatter a glass ceiling and be a president for each and every one
of us, then I am asking you to work as hard as you can this one last day to
elect my fellow American, this fighter, this stateswoman, this mother, this
grandmother, this patriot, our next president of the United States of
America, Hillary Clinton!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: President Obama introducing Hillary Clinton
tonight at what I think is clearly the biggest campaign event that she has
made during her entire presidential run, the campaign has estimated 20,000
people on hand outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia and many thousands
more outside the secure perimeter and thus far not able to get in.
President Obama introduced by his wife, first lady Michelle Obama. She
said she thought it would be one of the last times if not the last time she
ever introduced him in public as my husband, the president of the United
States. But that outgoing president of the United States now giving, as he
has been throughout this whole period of the campaign, just a full-throated
endorsement and welcome and introduction, making the case for the
Democratic whom he wants to be his successor, Hillary Clinton.
We expect her to make remarks here tonight. We will carry these remarks
live. We`re also expecting a further event tonight from Mrs. Clinton, a
midnight rally in Raleigh, North Carolina. We are expecting also two late-
night events from Donald Trump. We`ll be covering those live as they
happen as well.
But let`s listen in on this event right now, this huge event at
Independence Hall in Philly.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hello, Philadelphia!
Oh, thank you. I am so grateful to be here tonight and spend this time
with all of you here in this historic spot and to all of the volunteers,
activists, the union organizers, the hard hats I see in the audience
tonight – thank you for one last rally before Election Day tomorrow.
And personally, I am so happy to be finishing this campaign with my husband
and my daughter by my side. We`ve been traveling across the country
separately trying to cover as much ground as possible and talk to as many
voters as we can but I`m really glad that we`re all together tonight in
Philadelphia with you.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
And how great was it to have Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen with us.
But in addition to all of that, what is so special for me is that we have
our amazing president and first lady with us because for now nearly eight
years, they have served our nation with grace, strength, brilliance and a
whole lot of cool. And they have shown us again and again, as Michelle
said right here in Philadelphia back at our convention, when others go low,
we go high!
I`m pretty sure, as they said tonight, that the best way to thank them is
to do something really important tomorrow. To vote, every single one of
you and every person you know. Because as the president just pointed out,
there is a clear choice in this election, a choice between division or
unity, between an economy that works for everyone or only those at the top.
Between strong, steady leadership or a loose cannon who could put
everything at risk.
So make no mistakes, our core values are being tested in this election. We
know enough about my opponent. We know who he is. The real question for
us is what kind of country we want to be and what kind of future we want to
build for our children.
I`m proud that I had the chance to serve in President Obama`s cabinet. And
I am proud that I could watch the extraordinary service of our first lady.
And one thing I know is that, like them, I love America and I know you do,
We love this country, we love what it stands for, not that we are blind to
its flaws, its problems, it`s challenges, but I believe with all my heart
that America`s best days are still ahead of us, if we reach for them
We choose to believe in a hopeful, inclusive, big-hearted America, an
America where everyone has a place, everyone`s included, everyone has a
chance to live up to their own God-given potentials.
There have been so many memorable moments in this election for me and most
of them revolve around the people that I`ve had the privilege of meeting.
And last night in Manchester, New Hampshire, I had the honor to be
introduced by Khizr Kahn, who`s son, Captain Kahn, was killed while serving
in Iraq. Just as he did here at our convention, Mr. Kahn again reminded us
of the responsibility we all share to protect and defend our Constitution.
You remember the story of Captain Kahn. The son of immigrants, himself
brought here as a young child who grew up to join the United States army
and on that fateful day, with his unit, he saw a suspicious car and he
moved toward it to try to determine whether it was a danger or not, telling
his men to stay back. The car was rigged, the bomb went off and he died
protecting his men. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
And what Mr. Kahn said last night is something I want us all to remember.
He said after the men derogatory and insulting comments that we`ve heard
from Donald Trump, would his son, Captain Kahn, have a place in Donald
Trump`s America? That`s an important question for all of us because we
don`t want to shrink the vision of this great country.
We want to keep expanding it so that everyone has a place to pursue your
dreams, your aspirations, the future that you want to create for yourselves
and everyone else. Think about that when you go to the polls tomorrow.
Think about how throughout our history, generations of Americans just like
us have come together to meet the tests of their time and, yes, as
President Obama said it started right here in Philadelphia, when
representatives from 13 unruly colonies came together to launch the
greatest experiment the world has ever seen, our parents and grandparents
defended that democracy.
They built the great American middle class. They marched for civil rights
and voting rights for workers` rights and women`s rights, for LGBT rights
and rights for people with disabilities.
And tomorrow, we face the test of our time. What will we vote for, not
just against. What will we decide is on the ballot because although my
name and my opponent`s name may be on the ballot, every issue you care
about is on that ballot.
If you believe that America thrives when the middle class thrives, then you
have to vote.
If you believe all of our kids should have good schools and good teachers
no matter what zip code they live in, then you have to vote.
If you believe college should be more affordable, you have to vote.
If you believe we must reform our criminal justice system so everyone has
respect for the law and everyone is respected by the law, you have to vote.
If you believe we need to protect our kids and pass commonsense gun safety
reforms, you have to vote.
If you believe we must raise the minimum wage and finally guarantee equal
pay for women, then you need to vote.
Now, you know every time I say that last part about equal pay for women, my
opponent accuses me of playing the women`s card. Well, you know what I
say, if they are playing the women`s card, then deal me in.
So it is not just my name or Donald Trump`s name on the ballot tomorrow.
Every issue you care about is at stake. And that is just the beginning
because we have to bridge the divides in our country.
I regret deeply how angry the tone of the campaign became.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Not your fault!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
CLINTON: And, by the way, did any of you see those debates? Well, I stood
next to Donald Trump for 4 1/2 hours proving conclusively, I have the
stamina to be president and commander in chief!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
But I have to say –
But I have to say there were so many troubling things that my opponent has
said, but probably the most horrifying was at the end of the last debate,
after he has insulted everyone, more than half the population, by the way,
immigrants, African-Americans, Latinos, POWs, Muslims, women, he then
launches an attack on our democracy, refusing to say whether or not he
would accept the outcome of the election.
Well, let`s show tomorrow, there will be no question about the outcome of
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
But I also want you to know, I will be a president for all Americans
Democrats, Republicans, independents. Not just those who supported me in
this election, everyone, because I believe we all have a role to play in
building a better, fairer, stronger America, building on the progress that
we have enjoyed under President Barack Obama over the last eight years.
I am not going to let anybody rip away the progress we`ve made and turn the
clock back sending us back in time where people are free to question the
foundation of our country, what our founders here did – you know, they did
not agree on everything, in case you haven`t remembered. There were lots
of contentious arguments but they saw a higher purpose and they came
That`s what I want us to do and we can take the first step tomorrow.
Please, make a plan to vote. Pennsylvania, it all happens tomorrow.
If you text the word “plan” to 47246, we will walk you through where to
vote, when to vote, how to get there. You can do that right now and please
tell your friends, your family, your neighbors. And you can go to
iwillvote.com and get all of the information you need.
Every person who lives in Philadelphia, lives within five blocks of your
polling place. That`s it. Just five blocks. And the polls open at 7:00
a.m. And they close at 8:00 p.m. and remember, if you`re in line at 8:00
p.m., they have to let you vote.
And so, we need your help. In these last hours, we need your help knocking
on doors and making phone calls, helping to turn people out, maybe helping
people who need assistance to get to the polls. You can still volunteer by
going to HillaryClinton.com. Because none of us, none of us want to wake
up on Wednesday morning and wish we had done more.
Years from today when your kids and grandkids ask what you did in 2016,
when everything was on the line, I want you to be able to say that you did
vote, you voted for an inclusive, big-hearted, open-minded, country future
that will make sure that we all keep moving together because I do believe
we are stronger together.
And you voted for an America where we build bridges, not walls. And maybe
most importantly, you voted in great numbers to demonstrate conclusively
once and for all that, yes, love Trumps hate. Let`s get out and vote,
Philadelphia, tomorrow! Let`s make history together! Thank you and God
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
MADDOW: Hillary Clinton speaking in what will not be her final election
rally but it certainly will be her biggest. There`s about 20,000 people on
site there at Independence Hall in Philadelphia for the first event of its
kind. You see there, Hillary Clinton along with the president, Barack
Obama, along with the first lady, Michelle Obama, and, of course, joined by
her husband, former President Bill Clinton and her daughter Chelsea
We`ve seen campaigning by all of those other four people for Hillary
Clinton during this campaign. They`ve never done a joint appearance like
this. They`ve never even just had the president and first lady with
Hillary Clinton any time other than at the convention.
So this is like their – this is their closing night, big footprint event
and it`s not a coincidence that it`s in Philadelphia. Obviously, there`s
the symbolism of being in Independence Hall and its role in the founding of
our nation, but it`s also foundational to the very question of who is going
to win Pennsylvania. The campaigns are lavishing attention, both the
Republican and Democratic campaigns, on states like Pennsylvania, Michigan,
North Carolina, what we`re learning is going to be the list of toss-up
states or at least the states most hard fought over in this most unusual
undoubtedly historic campaign.
So, I said this will not be her last rally, that`s because tonight at
midnight, Hillary Clinton is expecting to do another event in Raleigh,
North Carolina. We will be bringing you that live as well. I should tell
you that while Hillary Clinton was giving her remarks tonight, I think
maybe actually while President Obama was speaking, Donald Trump started
doing his event tonight in New Hampshire.
Donald Trump`s event in New Hampshire is his final event. He`s in New
Hampshire and then has a still later event tonight which is going to be in
Grand Rapids, Michigan. We`re going to be bringing you everything live
that we can. We can only show one thing at a time, though. We did not cut
into President Obama and Mrs. Clinton in order to bring you his remarks.
Here`s a portion that wasn`t just his regular stump speech. We will be
planning to cover Trump`s late-night events live.
Here`s a little bit of Donald Trump tonight speaking in New Hampshire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are going, right after this,
to Michigan because Michigan is in play. And I may get there a little bit
late but they`re waiting, we have thousands and thousands of people, the
polls just came out, we`re leading in Michigan.
We`re leading in New Hampshire. We`re leading in Ohio. We`re leading in
Iowa. We`re leading in North Carolina.
I think we`re doing really, really well in Pennsylvania. And I do believe
we are leading in Florida. So it`s going to be amazing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Donald Trump speaking tonight in New Hampshire in what is the
second to last event of the election eve.
Tonight, you`re looking at live pictures of a fired up President Obama
along with former President Clinton, Jon Bon Jovi, Chelsea Clinton`s
husband there, a big, big, big event, 20,000 people out for the Democrats
in Philadelphia tonight.
We`re going to go now to Kristen Welker who has been traveling with the
Kristen, I just have to ask you, as far as I can tell, this is the largest
campaign event that Clinton has done throughout this whole campaign season.
Is that fair to estimate?
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Oh, it absolutely is, Rachel. And
it`s hard to overstate the extent to which emotions are running high here
tonight. This is a real show of force and this is what makes Secretary
Clinton`s campaign so different from Donald Trump, particularly in these
It has been all hands on deck for the Democratic Party. President Obama,
the first lady, Vice President Biden, former President Bill Clinton, all
out on the campaign trail with her and, of course, so many of them here
with her tonight in Philadelphia. Also, the city where she officially
accepted her party`s nomination.
So, there is a lot of symbolism here tonight, a lot of raw emotion. I
heard you talking about the significance of Pennsylvania. This is a key
part of her firewall, Rachel. This is a state that will deliver a lot of
electoral votes and it`s a state that is most certainly a part of her path
to 270. She has had a very strong lead in the polls. It has narrowed, as
we have gotten closer to Election Day, and that is why you have seen her
and her top surrogates making so many stops here in recent days.
And the key to winning Pennsylvania is really turns out African-American
voters in force here in the city of Philadelphia and also making sure that
they win the Philadelphia suburbs. That is a region that was once reliably
red but in the area of about 2008, turned blue. And so, getting those
voters, that is a swing area, getting them to come out and vote for
Secretary Clinton will be critical.
Another state that is part of her firewall, Michigan, you`ve been talking
about that as well. She made a last-minute stop to Michigan today. She
crisscrossed a number of key states. But, Rachel, again, this underscores
her strategy heading into the final hours of this campaign. You heard her
talking about her vision, the fact that she wants to be a unifier, really
trying to get trash herself with Donald Trump as she urged voters to get
out and vote tomorrow, Rachel.
MADDOW: Kristen, can I just ask you, I`m – we`re all at the point now
where we`re trying to read tea leaves wherever we find them, and I`m going
to be one of those creepy people on cable news who does body language
analysis. I`m like watching Hillary Clinton tonight, especially having
watched her a lot over the last few days. Tonight, she seemed serious to
me, she seemed focus, she did not seem particularly giddy to be looking at
20,000 people in that square in Philadelphia.
Do you have – I don`t want to read too much into that, but do you have any
sense of what their confidence level is for Pennsylvania? I know they need
hundreds of thousands of votes in terms of a margin out of Philly. That`s
why they are in Philly tonight. Do they actually think they are going to
WELKER: I think they are feeling measured confidence. They are feeling
good about their ground game here. It`s second to none. They have more
than a million volunteers out all across the country, thousands –
thousands of volunteers came from D.C. and New York right here to
Philadelphia to try to get out the vote. They are feeling confident about
their ability to close out this race.
To your point, though, and the body language, the fact that she is quite
focused right now, I think you`re seeing a candidate who several days ago,
prior to that bombshell by FBI director James Comey did feel as though she
was on the cusp of clinching this. That, of course, changed. We saw the
poll got much closer, the campaign would argue that happens as a natural
part of getting closer to Election Day.
But I think it refocused them and their message has really shifted to
making the argument that every vote matters and that is why you heard her
get into so many specifics tonight about where people can get out and vote,
what time the polling place is open. You`ll recall there was a strike
here, Rachel, that was just resolved. They`re breathing a sigh of relief
over that, because there was some trepidation that they could lose some
critical votes due to that.
So, I think they`re very focused. They think it`s going to be tight but
ultimately, ultimately they think it`s their ground game and the show of
force, quite frankly, that`s going to push her over the finish line –
MADDOW: NBC`s Kristen Welker, excellent. Thank you, Kristen, and I really
appreciate you joining us tonight from the site of that huge event in
And we are now down to the point where it becomes relevant, political news
what the weather is in certain states and in certain cities, it becomes
very relevant political news whether or not the Philadelphia transit unions
have been able to come up with a negotiated agreement, whether there`s
going to be transit strike continuing. In a city like Philadelphia, that
becomes not just local news, not just labor news, but national, political
news as we get super, super down to the wire.
I will tell you, we do have some really specific insight into why Donald
Trump is doing this last event of the night tonight in Michigan and why
Hillary Clinton just did this big event in Pennsylvania. It`s not just
because they are swing states. It`s not about who`s on offense or who`s on
defense. There`s actually a mathematical explanation for why they`re in
those two places. We`ve got that coming up tonight.
We`ve also got some really interesting perspective on why it matters and
why it is unusual that both of the campaigns tonight are finishing up with
big rallies in front of big crowds the way that they are doing that. You
would not necessarily expect from the historical context that that would be
what they are doing but we think we understand that as well. All of that
still to come tonight.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: You know what? Election eve is more fun than it used to be. And
I know everybody says, oh, I`ve never been more stressed about an election,
our presidential election has never been more terrible. You know, nothing
has ever been so innovating and weird and national politics than this
But you know what? It`s not true. I hereby offer definitive proof that
election eve now is more fun than election eves of your.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GERALD FORD, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: It is from your ranks that I come and
on your side I stand.
Tomorrow is a very crucial election but tonight, America`s strong,
America`s free, America`s on the move.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Why is he on an airplane? I mean, I know, on the move. But
That was election eve 1976, President Gerald Ford and his campaign on an
election eve uninterrupted telecast from an airplane. There was literally
no reason for him to be on board Air Force One, including the jostling
camera and airplane noise because he was actually flying when they shoot
As far as we can tell, there`s no reason for him to be on board the plane
for this hour long telecast on election eve, other than the fact that his
campaign apparently thought it would be cool, right? It would be like he
was president and he`s on the Air Force One.
But that is how election eve was spent 40 years ago tonight in 1976, the
night before Gerald Ford lost that election. It`s an overlooked part of
our presidential election history that for a long time in the modern era,
election eve has been a night of terrible TV shows put on by the
candidates. Really long form, terrible television.
The Republicans, I think, started it in 1952. They put Eisenhower on TV
for an hour on election eve. He was sitting there in a chair with his wife
on his right and his running mate Dick Nixon on his left. And Nixon`s wife
was there, too. They were just sitting there in arm chairs and this thing
went on for an hour.
I mean, Eisenhower is kind of a big deal in American political history.
Kind of a towering figure in Republican politics, right? But on election
eve in 1952, this poor guy, they put him in this terrible living room, they
shove the camera right in his face. Apparently, they did not tell him at
all what to say, and then they tried to make it seem all homey. It was
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DWIGHT EISENHOWER, FORMER PRESIDENT: The point of the show is that you
share it with us, as we sit here to take a look at what they were going to
do, you look also. So in that way, we all get to be together almost in
your living room. So, let`s all sit together and find out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: We all get to be together. I love me some Eisenhower but that was
not some kindness to him.
Election eve was weird, awkward, long-form television involving the
candidates for a very long time.
In 1968, it was even worse. By `68, Dick Nixon was not Ike`s running mate
anymore. He was top of the ticket. And on election eve 1968, Roger Ailes
of FOX News produced a four-hour long live Nixon telethon on the eve of the
Tell me if you see any foreshadowing here in terms of where Roger Ailes
ended up in his career. But at the Nixon telethon on election eve `68,
they had this bank of pretty girls answering the phones, including a group
of stewardess for Nixon. They call them the Nixoneers. And they made a
four-hour long show out of basically having pretty ladies pretend to take
call-in questions for Nixon while the campaign instead asked them questions
on TV that they had previously prepared him for. That was 1968 election
eve on the Republican side.
But it gets even better than that because 1968 was the year when the
presidential candidates didn`t debate each other even once. Nixon versus
Hubert Humphrey, the reason you don`t remember those debates is because
they never happened. The closest that they came to debating, was that they
both on election night did these hours long – on election eve, excuse me,
they both did these freaking telethons. Nixon was four hours on NBC
produced by Roger Ailes. His Democratic opponent Hubert Humphrey also did
a four-hour telethon except his was on ABC and he had celebrities answering
the phones, including Paul Newman.
And each of the candidates appeared for two hours in prime time, in every
time zone, they were on the air in total, staging this thing for four
freaking hours the night before the election. I mean, and in theory, if
you`re a politics junkie and like the history of politics on TV, it might
sound like it was kind of awesome but it was not awesome, having watched a
number of those eight hours of election eve telethons just from 1968, I`m a
person who loves political history but watching it I wanted to stab myself
in the eye.
And so, it`s funny. In the television era, we went for a long time with
election eve, this night every four years, this night every four years,
being super long format, boring, weird, expensive, semi-fake, semi-scripted
endurance contests by the presidential candidates on live TV. And it is
fascinating to me that in this particularly media-driven, particularly
television-driven campaign, the first presidential campaign where one of
the candidates is a TV celebrity.
In this campaign, on this election eve tonight, the candidates have gone
old school. They basically have gone pre-modern. I mean, they are each
running a slightly longer than usual closing argument ad, they will run a
two-minute ad in some markets over the next 24 hours, but neither Clinton
or Trump is doing hours-long, in-studio telecasts.
What both Clinton and Trump are doing on this final night of the
presidential campaign is just back in the day, old-school, soaking up the
admiration soaking up the crowd.
The closest thing I know of in the sort of modern era to the way Clinton
and Trump are both wrapping up their campaigns tonight is actually this
from Boston Garden in 1960. Look at that.
This was John F. Kennedy, 56 years ago tonight, the eve of that
presidential election. He was home in Boston, Boston Garden.
Massachusetts had gone overwhelmingly Republican in the previous two
presidential elections. Kennedy wanted to bring it home for the Democrats
that year in his home state.
And so, he just held this big old, freaking, huge, huge rally. By the
time, he got to the room, people were plugging their ears it was so loud.
They were shooting confetti all over the place like it was a victory party
instead of last night before people went to vote.
And yes, that was a well staged event and some of it did end up on TV, but
that was real life with real people out on the campaign trail, not on some
stupid staged set. And what we are seeing tonight from these candidates in
2016, it looks a lot more like that than anything else. Hillary Clinton
tonight in her closing election night blowout with President Obama and the
first lady, Michelle Obama, and former President Bill Clinton and Bruce
Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi there, this big blowout in Philly tonight, we
saw it live on our air, she`ll now be moving to Raleigh, North Carolina,
where she`ll be closing out her campaign with another big rally, this one
in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Donald Trump tonight did what would usually count as a late-night rally.
It was due to start at 8:00 in New Hampshire, it started a little late
along with his running mate Mike Pence. But that was not even Trump`s
closing rally tonight. He`s due to be in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for an
11:00 p.m. late-night rally tonight.
This is not staged. This is not a stunt. This is not a TV show created by
the candidates. This is old school, people power, show of force, run right
through the tape. I love it.
In terms of the last projections of this race, honestly, you`re forgiven if
you want to stop paying attention to that now. But at FiveThirtyEight.com,
for the record, they say the chances of Hillary Clinton has of winning the
presidency tomorrow is 70 percent. “The New York Times”, they say Hillary
Clinton`s chances of getting elected president tomorrow are higher than
that, 84 percent.
But like I said, you are forgiven if you want to ignore projections at this
point. The closer we all get to waking up tomorrow, the less value there
is in speculating about what might happen tomorrow, right? Just make sure
you do wake up and vote if you haven`t voted already. And then we wait for
The reason there is less cause to be stressed about this election tonight
than there has been at any other night in this long, long campaign is
because now, it really is in your hands. Now it really is just up to you.
Now, you just got to put one foot in front of the other, do your part, the
country needs you.
Tomorrow night for the first time since 1944, both major party candidates
will hold their election-night parties in New York City. The last time
that happened, we were in the middle of World War II. But tomorrow night,
both Clinton and Trump will hold their election night rallies in New York
City tomorrow night, history will be made.
Tomorrow night, we will either elect America`s first-ever woman president
or our first-ever Donald Trump. The good news is, though, however stressed
you have been, the good news is, it is now up to you – which should be a
source of calm, because you, by now, should know what you want. It is
election eve, enjoy it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT: For our television audience, I think you
will see this tremendous bank of girls answering your calls, those that are
dressed in the rider`s costume or I would say jockey costumes are the
Nixoneers. They are girls who are airline stewardesses, our volunteers.
They`ve been helping us all over the country.
And there are a couple girls that you may notice, I know them quite well,
my daughter Patricia is the girl in yellow up there taking a call, and my
daughter Julie is right next to her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Here in Minnesota, you`ve seen first hand the problems caused with
faulty refugee vetting, with large numbers of Somali refugees coming into
your state without your knowledge, without your support or approval, and
with some of them then joining ISIS and spreading their extremist views all
over our country and all over the world.
Honestly, it`s hard to believe. It`s hard to believe. And everybody`s
reading about the disaster taking place in Minnesota. Everybody`s reading
about it. You don`t even have the right to talk about it. You have no
idea who`s coming in. You have no idea. You`ll find out, you`ll find out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: It`s interesting.
A lot of people have been talking about how audacious that Donald Trump in
the wrapping up of his campaign went to Minnesota. Minnesota, a lot of
people saying, you know, it`s audacious thing for him to be in a blue state
on the eve of this election.
Whether or not he has a chance in Minnesota, in Minneapolis, where he was
yesterday, I think it is worth nothing that what you just saw there, that
was the message that he brought to try to get white Minnesotans in his
audience there afraid of non-white people in their midst, talking about how
terrible it`s been for Minnesota to have refugees in a Somali-American
We`re going to be covering Donald Trump`s final rally of the campaign
tonight in Grand Rapids, Michigan. But before we get to that, I want to
bring in to the conversation, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar.
So good to have you with us on election eve, Senator. Thank you for being
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: Thank you. I thought we were going to
end tonight with Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, you, me, but now, we`re
including Donald Trump. So, thank you.
MADDOW: We`ll just have to put that off for a really awkward double date
somewhere in the future. That will never happen. It`s fair enough.
I`m sorry. Listen, the reason I want to talk to you, Senator, is that
Donald Trump took this unexpected detour at the very end of the campaign.
He went to your state and he gave a speech about how terrible the Somali
community is in Minnesota and what a disaster that has been for your state.
I mostly just wanted to give you a chance to respond to that and get your
reaction to it.
KLOBUCHAR: Sure, this was pretty stunning. We have one of the biggest
Somali communities, the biggest one in the country, and we are very proud
of that community.
And yes, there have been security issues here and there, and they have been
dealt with, and they have been dealt with, and he knows that, but to take
and take a broad brush stroke and take on the entire community, I`d like to
see him say that to my staff member who`s been with me 10 years, who just
got elected to a school board.
The kids my daughter went to school with who are now graduating from
college. What a contrast that is with this beautiful night in
Philadelphia, with Hillary Clinton`s closing argument, which is positive
about being stronger together.
MADDOW: One of the things that we are seeing in the polls in these closing
days is that Trump appears to have an insurmountably low number,
particularly with Latinos. That if previous voting trends hold, with a
number that bad with Latinos, there`s no way he can win unless he gins up a
kind of white vote we`ve never seen before.
Do you think those sorts of appeals to racial anxiety, kind of division,
might spike the white vote in Minnesota or any other state?
KLOBUCHAR: I just don`t see that happening. We`ve had 600,000 people vote
early, double what we`ve ever seen, 65 percent Democratic. And the
Hispanic vote alone, what we`re seeing in Nevada and place the like
Florida, you know, Hillary`s commercial closing set to that Katy Perry song
that I`ll paraphrase, you`re as going to hear us roar. I think that`s what
you`re going to hear collectively across America tomorrow, and that roar is
going to be their votes.
MADDOW: Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota – thanks for being with us
late night on election eve.
KLOBUCHAR: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Enjoy. We`ll talk to you soon, Senator, thank you.
KLOBUCHAR: All right.
MADDOW: You know, as we look at the way the campaigns are spending their
last days, it is interesting to see them in Michigan and Pennsylvania, both
the campaigns really focusing in Michigan and Pennsylvania. One thing to
keep in mind about that, early voting has become so popular that we`ve got
a significant portion of the vote, like 60 percent, 70 percent of the vote
in, in swing states, in places like Florida, in places like Nevada, even in
places like North Carolina.
In a lot of places, there`s so much early voting that for the candidates to
go to those places now, they`re competing for essentially a small
proportion of the vote that`s not yet been cast.
Michigan and Pennsylvania are both places that have very little, if any,
early vote, and part of the reason that both candidates are going there now
is because the whole vote, basically, in those states is still to be cast.
Not a lot of people are talking about that in terms of the strategy,
explaining where they`re at tonight, but when you see Donald Trump late
tonight live here on MSNBC doing his final event in Grand Rapids, Michigan,
that`s partly why, because there`s no early voting in Michigan.
All right. 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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