The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 11/17/2016
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: November 17, 2016
Guest: Tim Ryan, Foster Campbell
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: That is “ALL IN” for this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Phenomenal Harry Reid
HAYES: Thank you very much.
MADDOW: Made lots of news there. Thank you, my friend.
HAYES: Thank you.
And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour.
On the Wednesday night of the Republican convention this summer, you might
remember that Texas Senator Ted Cruz, in his speech, he did not say the
word “Trump,” while he gave his speech at the Republican convention. He,
of course, had signed a pledge along with all the other Republican
candidates, saying he would support whoever the Republican nominee for
president was, but Ted Cruz really just could not stand Donald Trump.
And even though he was invited to speak at the convention, he couldn`t
bring himself to say Donald Trump`s name. The closest he could get was,
vote your conscience. And he got screamed at and booed at and he got
yelled off the stage. His family had to be, reportedly, escorted out of
the arena for their own safety.
And then the next morning, with his home state Texas delegation to the
convention, he decided he would not back down. He went to go meet with the
Texas delegation, after he had given this speech and been booed and
screamed off the stage, and he said what he thought of Donald Trump. And
he said why he didn`t endorse him in that speech.
And while he was speaking to the Texas delegation, half of that room
cheered him on, and clapped for him, sticking to his guns, and the other
half of the room screamed at him all over again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: I am not in the habit of supporting people who
attack my wife and attack my father.
And that pledge was not a blanket commitment that if you go and slander and
attack Heidi, that I`m going to nonetheless come like a servile puppy dog,
and say, thank you very much for maligning my wife and maligning my father.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Not going to come like a servile puppy dog.
I mean, even if you like servile puppy dogs, and who among us does not,
right? Lie down, fellas. Look at his little butt, lie down. Good boys.
If there`s anything better than a lying down dog, it`s a good sit, right?
Even if you like servile puppies, even if you like puppy dogs in every
circumstance, Ted Cruz put a spin on the word “puppy dog” when he was
talking about Donald Trump, that basically turned that word into a curse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: That pledge was not a blanket commitment that if you go and slander
and attack Heidi that I`m going to nonetheless come like a servile puppy
dog, and say, thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The vitriol, the disgust – “a servile puppy dog!” The disgust
that Senator Cruz spat for Donald Trump at the Republican convention, the
disgust he had with him throughout this campaign, it was not a normal level
of intra candidate fighting.
I mean, Ted Cruz would just get beside himself about Donald Trump. He
would get so map, he almost couldn`t get the words out when he talked about
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
CRUZ: It`s not easy to tick me off. I don`t get angry often. But you
mess with my wife, you mess with my kids, that`ll do it every time.
This morning, Donald Trump went on national television and attacked my
father. Donald Trump alleges that my dad was involved in assassinating
Now, let`s be clear: this is nuts. This is not a reasonable position.
This is just kooky.
I`m going to tell you what I really think of Donald Trump. This man is a
pathological liar. He doesn`t know the difference between truth and lies.
He lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth.
I actually think Donald, if you hooked him up to a lie detector test, he
could say one thing in the morning, one thing at noon, and one thing in the
evening, all contradictory, and he would pass the test every time.
Whatever lie he`s telling at that minute, he believes it.
The man is utterly amoral. Morality does not exist for him. He is lying
to his supporters.
Donald will betray his supporters on every issue if this man were to become
president. Think about that next five years, the boasting, the
pathological lying, the picking up the “National Enquirer” and accusing
people of killing JFK. The bullying. Think about your kids coming back
and emulating this.
Listen, Donald Trump is a serial philanderer, and he boasts about it. This
is not a secret. He`s proud of being a serial philanderer. I want
everyone to think about your teenage kids.
I`ll tell you as the father of two young girls, the idea of our daughters
coming home and repeating any word that man says horrifies me.
Donald, you`re a sniveling coward and leave Heidi the hell alone.
REPORTER: So, will you support him as the nominee?
CRUZ: I`m going to beat him for the nomination –
REPORTER: That is not answering the question, Senator.
CRUZ: I am answering the nomination. Donald Trump will not be the
REPORTER: He`s leading right now. You just looked in that camera and said
that he`s a coward.
CRUZ: Donald Trump will not be the nominee.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: And then Donald Trump became the nominee. And then Donald Trump
won the presidency.
And now I give you, on a platter, the fully cooked, sliced, salted, and
peppered soul of Senator Ted Cruz.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TV ANCHOR: How would you characterize your visit with the president-elect?
CRUZ: Listen, it was very productive. I spent several hours in Trump
Tower, had the chance to meet with the president-elect. I am eager and
committed to working with President-elect Trump. I`m eager to work with
the new president, in whatever capacity. I`m looking forward to working
very, very closely with President Trump.
TV ANCHOR: Would it be safe to say, it sounds like, you and Donald Trump
are pretty much on the same page?
CRUZ: He and I have been fighting for a long time, for many of the same –
TV ANCHOR: Oh, we remember!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: He was the one who brought up the word “principles” there. He
wasn`t asked that, he brought it up.
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas today, sit. Good boy! Lie down.
But this was that day in American politics. This was the day when very
famous men in politics measured the distance between the height of their
high horse and bowing and scraping the floor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Dishonesty is Donald
Presidents have an impact on the nature our nation and trickle down racism,
trickle down bigotry, a trickle down misogyny. All these things are
extraordinarily dangerous to the heart and character of America. This is
not a matter of just policy, it`s more a matter of character and integrity.
INTERVIEWER: You think he`s a racist?
ROMNEY: Oh, I think his comments time and again, appeal to the racist
tendency that exists in some people. And I think that`s very dangerous.
Mr. Trump is a con man. A fake.
His imagination must not be married to real power. His domestic policies
would lead to recession. His foreign policies would make America and the
world less safe. He has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be
This is the very brand of anger that has led other nations into the abyss.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: Into the abyss? This has led other nations into the abyss, this
has been the death of other nations, that is – that is serious from
governor – oh, you know, actually, it`s not that serious.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mitt Romney is going to be meeting with Donald Trump
on Sunday this weekend? That`s a big deal. Now, we are reporting and able
to report that he is being considered for secretary of state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: For Donald Trump`s secretary of state, to be clear.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney might get a job out of all of
this! It turns out. So never mind about the whole “into the abyss” thing.
Woof. Sit. Sit. Sit. Soft mouth.
Today was the day when the last vestige of Republican, honorable,
principled horror at Donald Trump dissolved into everybody just trying to
get a job with him now. Forget all that.
Today, we also learned, after days of reporting, that President-elect Trump
would try to bring his relatives into the White House, despite nepotism
laws that ban that. Today, we learned, apparently, how they plan to try to
skirt the nepotism law, at least when it comes to Donald Trump`s son-in-
law, a man named Jared Kushner.
“The New York Times” reporting today that what the Trump folks are going to
try is that they`re going to say that technically Donald Trump wouldn`t be
hiring his son-in-law into the government, and so technically the nepotism
laws wouldn`t apply, if Jared Kushner turned down the salary that would
usually come with the White House job, that they want to give him – which,
of course, is no problem for him, because he`s also from a real estate
billionaire family, so your petty little public servant salary is basically
an insult to him, anyway.
Now, if this were true. If this legal theory worked out, as a matter of
precedent, that would almost be funny, right? That would mean only rich
presidents could bring their rich family members into the government.
But the nepotism laws would still apply to everybody else, only the rich
don`t have to abide by that law. You just don`t take the salary. Who
Honestly, though, we`re probably not even going to get to that punch line
as a country, though, because if they do try this, it is not likely to be
legal, even as “The New York Times” notes today, under federal law,
offering something to a president for free doesn`t magically make that
thing legal if it would otherwise be prohibited by law for him to accept
Outside what is now a sustained, ongoing, increasingly hilarious struggle
by the president-elect to try to find ways to employ his immediate family
members, the Trump transition tonight has apparently offered the job of
national security adviser to retired General Michael Flynn.
Now, one good thing about this particular job off, as a fit for Michael
Flynn, is that national security adviser, interestingly, does not require
Senate confirmation. It`s a very powerful job, but it doesn`t go through
the Senate. The president just gets to designate his or her national
It`s a good thing that it would not have to go to the Senate, this
appointment, if it is, in fact, something that`s going to happen. It`s a
good thing for General Flynn that it would not go to the Senate, because
there are things in General Flynn`s immediate background and in fact his
current employment that might be trouble in the Senate, especially a
narrowly divided Senate, like we`re going to have.
General Flynn was forced out of the Defense Intelligence Agency, just a few
years ago, under not-positive circumstances that nobody in the Trump
administration is going to want aired in front of Senate committees. Since
leaving government service, after being forced out of the Defense
Intelligence Agency, General Flynn has set up a consulting firm that is now
registered to lobby for a foreign government. This firm is being paid to
lobby for Turkey.
And apparently, that is something that was true throughout the Trump
campaign, while General Flynn was working for the Trump campaign. And
General Flynn, in all that time, never publicly disclosed that. Even while
he was writing pro-Turkey op-eds on Election Day, which apparently a
foreign country was paying for.
So, the national security adviser is a position that does not get Senate
confirmation. In General Flynn`s case, that is probably very opportune in
terms of whether or not he could expect to be confirmed.
There`s no word yet on whether General Flynn has accepted this job offer,
but the “Associated Press” is reporting tonight that as to have tonight,
the national security adviser job offer is on the table.
Meanwhile, this was an unusual development, the man who has spent the whole
last week representing himself as the immigration chief for the Trump
transition team, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the guy who wrote
the papers, please, law in Arizona, and the anti-immigration law in
Hazelton, Pennsylvania, and the anti-immigrant law in Alabama, Kris Kobach,
he has spent the last week describing what he says will be the Trump
campaign`s – excuse me, the Trump administration`s first actions on
immigration and what they plan to do over the course of their time in
office. He`s the guy who has said that Trump will be ready to massively
increase deportation as of day one. He`s the one who has said there will
be an immigration ban on Muslims, there will be a registry of Muslims.
Well, after that solid week of news from Kris Kobach, who says he`s the
immigration guy in the Trump transition team, the Trump transition team
said today that, actually, they`ve decided that Kris Kobach is not on the
Now, what`s weird about that is that they`re not announcing that they are
firing him. What they are doing is they`re saying, he was never on the
transition team in the first place. He`s just been on TV, every single day
for the past week, speaking for the Trump transition team, on the issue of
immigration, and apparently what they`re going to say about that is that
they didn`t notice that he was doing that until now. Hey, who`s that guy?
None of us know him! He doesn`t speak for us!
And if you want to throw a grappling hook and then rappel with me down to
the bottom of the memory hole on this, the Trump campaign as of tonight is
also now claiming that Donald Trump as a candidate never advocated these
controversial policies that Kris Kobach has been talking about implementing
for the past week. I think they`re trying to maintain here that Kris
Kobach just made this stuff up and it was never Donald Trump`s positions.
This was the statement from the Trump transition tonight. Quote,
“President-elect Trump has never advocated for any registry or system that
tracks individuals based on their religion. And to imply otherwise is
That`s what they`re trying to say now. And that`s insane.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VAUGHN HILLYARD, NBC NEWS: Should there be a database system that tracks
the Muslims here in this country?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: There should be a lot of systems,
beyond database. I mean, we should have a lot of systems.
HILLYARD: But that`s something your White House would like to implement?
TRUMP: Oh, I would certainly implement that. Absolutely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Absolutely, I would certainly implement that. The databases?
Donald Trump is on tape advocating a registry of Muslims, in the United
States. But as of tonight, the Donald Trump president-elect transition
team says he never advocated that, and for good measure, what was the
threat, “to imply otherwise is completely false.” And that`s insane. But
that`s what every day in the news is like now.
And I`ve got to tell you, for the sheer kinetic whiplash of it, this is
kind of exhilarating stuff to cover. I mean, it`s exhilarating the way
those free fall rides at amusement parks kind of make you feel alive! But
this is incredible stuff. What a moment to be trying to explain and cover
We have a big show tonight. There is one last U.S. Senate race in the
country that is not yet decided. This is the race that will determine the
number of senators the Republicans have and the number of senators the
Democrats have in the Senate, and we all know that`s going to be really,
really, really important in terms of what the Trump administration is able
The Democratic candidate for that one remaining Senate race in the country
is here with us tonight. You are definitely going to want to see that.
Also tonight, former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has a challenger for
the job of leading the Democrats in the House. That challenger is here
tonight to explain why he says that even show he, personally, loves Nancy
Pelosi, he is now trying to unseat here.
So we`ve got two really interesting guests right in the middle of two very
live, very important fights. They`re both here with us tonight.
It`s a big, big, big evening. And it`s an insane time to be alive. Stay
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: If you look at race by race, it was
close. The cumulative effect, however, was not too close, it was a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: It was a thumpin`. Which is a technical term.
President George W. Bush`s self-deprecating take on the midterm elections
that happened in his second term. That was him responding to the 2006
midterms. And that was a decade ago. But it was a thumping.
And people could sort of see that one coming. Going into that election,
the Iraq War was going terribly. It was one of the bloodiest years of all,
of the Iraq War. President Bush had also mishandled Hurricane Katrina the
previous year in 2005. The Democrats turned all of that against him in
2006 and they just turned it on in terms of Democratic energy.
The result in the 2006 election was just a huge blue wave at the polls.
That year in 2006, Democrats recaptured both the Senate and the House.
They also retook a majority of governorships.
These were the final numbers, that year in 2006, Democrats picked up six
governorships, six Senate seats, 31 seats in the House. Not a single
Democratic incumbent lost a seat in 2006. Not one. First time that`s ever
And, of course, the Democratic leader in the House, Nancy Pelosi, she got a
lot of credit for what happened with Democrats that year. She also made
history herself that year, when she became the first woman ever to take the
gavel, to become speaker of the House.
And then just two years later, 2008, it was Democratic president, Barack
Obama, making history of his own, defeating John McCain, one of those
moments that will forever give Democrats warm fuzzy feelings, for good
But you know what, that was not just President Obama`s night. After their
big year that they had just had two years earlier in 2006, that night,
election night in 2008, that was the second Democratic wave building on the
gains from two years earlier, which nobody thought was even possible. But
in 2008, Democrats won another eight seats in the Senate. They won another
21 seats in the House. They even added another governor`s seat.
On that night in 2008, Democrats were flying high. They held huge
majorities in both chambers in Washington. The country had just elected a
massively popular Democratic president. There was talk of an emerging
Democratic majority for years to come. And, of course, President Obama was
the tip of that spear.
But once again, for the second wave in two cycles, a lot of the credit went
to Nancy Pelosi, for, again, not just keeping the Democratic majority, but
And then we know what happened, right? That night, November 4th, 2008,
that was the top of the mountain.
I mean, yes, President Obama won re-election four years later, over Mitt
Romney and the Democrats in Congress picked up a few seats in 2012, but
that was the exception that proved the rule over the last eight years.
In the interim, Democrats got their own version of a thumping in 2010, the
first midterm as Barack Obama`s time as president in 2010, the Democrats
lost 63 seats in the House. President Obama didn`t call that a thumping,
he called it a shellacking, the largest shellacking in 60 years. And in
2014, the next midterm of his second term, they got another shellacking.
And overall, since that magical, misty-eyed amazing night for Democrats in
2008, with the exception of President Obama`s re-election, Democratic
losses have been huge. There`s no other way to describe. Even before last
week`s electoral disaster, Democrats under the era of President Obama lost
13 Senate seats, 69 House seats, 12 governorships, over 900 seats in state
legislatures across the country. That was all before last Tuesday.
And now suddenly, those blue waves from 2006 and 2008, they look like an
awfully long time ago. And now as of this afternoon, Nancy Pelosi, that
history-making first woman speaker of the House, long-standing Democratic
leader, she now finds herself facing a challenger from among the House
Democrats. A challenger who says that he is the type of new leader
Democrats need if they are ever going to get the House back and if they are
going to take the fight both to congressional Republicans and to Donald
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TIM RYAN (D), OHIO: You spend your life, your entire business career,
screwing average people, filing bankruptcy. I don`t mean to be graphic,
but this guy, to our friends in the trades, to our steelworkers, who he`s
been treating very unfairly, very unfairly, he will, he will gut you, and
he will walk over your cold, dead body and he won`t even flinch. He`ll
climb over your cold, dead body and get on his helicopter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan. He`s joining us tonight, in
person, for his first interview since announcing today that he is going to
challenge Nancy Pelosi to be Democratic leader in Congress. That is next.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN: I know many of us have been talking about this for a long, long
time, to where we have 30 years of stagnant wages in the United States.
And there is no way that we`re going to be able to continue to be the
leader of the free world or really even have the kind of country that we
want, if we have this kind of level of inequality.
The issue that we are talking about in Ohio and Wisconsin is an issue of
respect for the average worker in the United States of America. The issue
is, are we going to respect work in the United States of America? Are we
going to respect the workers in the United States of America, while all
these fat cats have gotten off scot-free? And we turn around and tell the
workers in Ohio and Wisconsin and Indiana, in the Big Ten conference, you
got to take the hit. It`s unfair and it`s disrespectful and it is not an
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: There have been a few times over the years on this show that we
have talked to and talked about Youngstown, Ohio, Democratic Congressman
Tim Ryan. Almost always it is because of him making a populist case,
making a blue collar, economic populist case for a Democratic politics
that`s about the working class and economic opportunity, and the kinds of
left-behind Americans that frankly turned his home state bright red this
year, even as he held on to his Youngstown and Akron district by a margin
of 35 points.
And now he`s here tonight, because he is taking a shot at the king, or
sorry, the leader, longtime House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. That`s
her today, telling reporters – excuse me, that`s her last week, telling
reporters right after the election that she definitely still has the two-
thirds support she needs among House Democrats in order to hold on to her
leadership job there.
Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio thinks she`s wrong. He thinks he can beat her
for that job.
Joining us now for “The Interview” tonight is Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan.
Nice to see you, sir.
RYAN: Great to be with you.
MADDOW: You need two-thirds support among House Democrats. Nancy Pelosi
says she has absolutely got the two-thirds. Do you really think she`s – I
tend to think she`s right. Do you think she`s wrong?
RYAN: I think there are a lot of people who are looking for a new
direction. And I don`t – I think maybe before someone else got in the
race, she may have had two-thirds, but I would say that there`s going to be
a lot of people evaluating me, what I`m talking about, what I stand for,
what direction I would like to take the caucus and the country, the
Democratic Party in. And they`re going to give it a good look.
MADDOW: What would you do differently than she would do? And I ask that
cognizant of the fact that you`ve said that you don`t like Nancy Pelosi,
you love Nancy Pelosi.
RYAN: I love her, yes.
MADDOW: That you have a lot of respect for her, both as an individual
member of Congress and the way that she has led. What would you do so
RYAN: Yes, I do love her. And this is tough, because this is a battle
kind of within the family. This is a decision that I had to make kind of
going against a family member, if you want to think of it that way. But I
think, you know, what we`ve got to do – and I`m not worried about the
past. You showed the past and there were some great memories there and
there were some really tough nights from `10 and `12, `14, and `16,
especially, you know, last week.
We`ve got to talk about the future. And I think we are going to have to
win 30 or 40 congressional districts in the southern part of the country,
in red congressional districts, southern Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin,
Michigan. We`ve got to win seats that are Upstate New York.
And we need a leader who can go into all of those districts and persuade
people who voted for Donald Trump to come back into the Democratic fold.
And I believe – I think I can do that. I know I can do that. I`ve been
doing it my whole career and I just want to offer the members of our caucus
an opportunity to have a choice in this.
And my job is not to get myself elected, or once I get elected, it`s not
about me, it`s about serving the members of the caucus. And the first
thing you have to do is get back in the power. Because the Republicans,
they`re going cut taxes for the top 1 percent, there`s no question about
They`re going to privatize Medicare. And they`re going to throw people off
their health insurance. And I`ll be damned if I`m going to stand by and
allow that to happen. I want in the fight.
I want to be in those congressional districts. I want to talk to those
voters in these different states and tell them, look, you belong in the
Democratic Party, I get it. We screwed up. You didn`t screw up, we
screwed up. We didn`t have the message for you. We didn`t have the agenda
for you. We didn`t talk to you enough.
We didn`t pay attention to you. And I`m going to come down there and pay
attention to you, with our candidates. And we`re going to bring into the
Democratic fold and we`re going to fight Donald Trump.
MADDOW: Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio, can you stay another moment? I have
a couple of things that I want to ask –
MADDOW: – you about what you`re offering here.
Congressman Ryan announced today that he`s challenging Nancy Pelosi to be
leader of the House Democrats. He`ll join us again right after this.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: We`re back with Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan, who made the bold
decision today to challenge House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. Nancy
Pelosi says she has the votes to stay where she is. The congressman begs
Congressman, thank you for staying with us.
RYAN: Great to be back.
MADDOW: A few quick things I want to sort of get your take on. I honestly
do not know your answer on any of these and I want to get through a few of
Number one, are you supporting anybody for DNC chair or do you want to say
right now who you think ought to be the next DNC chair?
RYAN: No, not yet. I haven`t really dug in, but great candidates, I`m
hearing, you know, Keith Ellison is a good buddy of mine in the House of
Representatives, worked a lot with Tom Perez, who I heard his name floated.
So I think there`s a lot of names out there, but I think everybody`s
keeping their powder dry at this point to see what the field looks like.
And I think the election is not until February, so.
MADDOW: Do you have a strong opinion about the Democratic Party doing
things wrong as a party, that you want to see them do things differently?
RYAN: There`s no question. I think we need – technologically, I think we
need an upgrade. I think we`ve got to speak to the working class people,
the blue collar people. We`ve got this beautiful tapestry of the
Democratic Party and we`ve got to energize this base.
It`s not about one segment, it`s about all of us. If you look back to the
progress we made as a party and as a country, you know, worker rights and
civil rights, you know, the 40-hour workweek, Medicare, Medicaid, Social
Security, go through the whole list, that was when we were all together.
Like, we hung together as a party. Black, white, Latino, middle class,
poor, we were all together. And that`s how we made progress. And so
whoever is the head of the DNC and I believe whoever is the head of our
caucus needs to represent and understand that.
And I think Nancy Pelosi does. But we need to represent the entire party
and these working class people rely on us. We need a strong Democratic
Party in the United States and right now, you know, we`re reeling.
MADDOW: One of the civil rights that`s never been under more threat than
it is right now is reproductive rights. You were pro-life until last year,
when you decided to announce that you were pro-choice. Why should anybody
trust you on that issue as a recent convert?
RYAN: Well, I would say, talk to our friends at NARAL and Planned
Parenthood. This has been a long journey for me, coming in pro-life,
really not giving a whole lot of thought about it. And I dug into the
issue with friends of mine, like Rosa DeLauro and others, and consistently
I really educated myself. I met women who were in really difficult
circumstances. And then two-and-a-half years ago, I had a – my wife,
Andrea, and I had a baby. And we were sitting in the doctor`s office and I
remember they were running tests on the baby.
The baby`s fine, he`s healthy, he`s great, Brady (ph). But we didn`t know
for some moments there. And I just remember sitting there with my wife in
the doctor`s office waiting for the results to come back and thinking,
Uncle Sam should not be in this room right now with us.
You know, these are really tough decisions and we need to honor women and
be compassionate for those who end up in difficult circumstances. And that
was my – that was like the end, it was like, I`m done, I`m writing an op-
ed, I wrote it, and I was like, I`ve changed, you know, I evolved over
But I took time. And my friends at NARAL and Planned Parenthood really
helped me meet people and understand it in a deeper way. And my position
changed and that`s where it is now.
MADDOW: Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan, taking a big jump tonight into
Democratic leadership contest. Nice to see you, sir. Thank you for coming
in and talking about it. Really appreciate it.
RYAN: What a pleasure.
MADDOW: I do feel like I need to warn the country that if he wins it will
be Paul Ryan versus Tim Ryan, in terms of House Republicans versus
RYAN: There will be a lot of happy people in Ireland.
MADDOW: Yes, also, you`ll have to wear shirts that have a first initial on
the back of them.
MADDOW: More ahead tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Hard as it may be to wrap your head around, Hillary Clinton`s lead
in the popular vote for this presidential election has now grown to more
than 1.3 million votes. And it`s expected to grow. Millions of votes are
still to be counted as of tonight in true blue California.
But there is another very important race, that hasn`t even been voted on
yet. And it`s a race that could determine just how much of a fight
Democrats are going to be able to put up against a President Trump in the
United States Senate next year, and that very interesting story is next.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: We are down to the very last unsettled races in the country. In
North Carolina now, we`re getting word that the sewer tight governor`s race
in that state may not be called until next month. The Democrat in that
governor`s race is North Carolina attorney general, Roy Cooper. He has
declared victory in the race and he`s ahead. The Republican incumbent
governor, Pat McCrory, though, he has not conceded. State officials are
still reviewing just shy of 60,000 provisional ballots. They`re also
counting absentee ballots and overseas ballots.
And tonight, in North Carolina, Pat McCrory`s campaign announced that they
have filed challenges to ballots in 50 counties with possibly more to come.
As it stands tonight, Pat McCrory is behind by about 5,000 votes, so this
race does remain too close to call. It`s also getting more complicated and
a little bit more fraught by the hour.
So we`re keeping an eye on that super hotly contested governor`s race in
But if you`re interested in what`s going to happen up coast in Donald
Trump`s Washington, D.C. come January, we also have a crucial United States
Senate race that is still outstanding, because in that race, the voting
doesn`t even happen for another three weeks. It`s the race for the U.S.
Senate seat in Louisiana, and that Louisiana Senate race, it starts as an
everybody in jungle primary, is what they call it. This year they had 23
people all running together, Republicans, Democrats, everybody.
You might remember a little national attention to this race, because this
was the race where freaking KKK grand wizard David Duke ran for Senate as a
Republican. He actually managed to get 5 percent in one poll, and so, he
got himself a place at one of the televised Senate debates this year.
Unfortunately, it was the one held at an historically black college,
Dillard University. So that was exciting. Same way the stomach flu can be
But Louisiana voted on election night across the nation. Louisiana voted
in their jungle primary. And in that Senate race in Louisiana, none of the
23 people who were running got a majority and won the seat. So, now what
happens next is the top two finishers, regardless of party, they go to a
runoff that happens three weeks from now.
I should tell you, happily, David Duke was not in the top two, nowhere
near. He`s now gone back to his regular life of being a full-time fan boy
for Donald Trump, celebrating his victory as a coup for white supremacy.
But the Louisiana Senate race continues without him. The runoff election
takes place in Louisiana on December 10th. There`s so much at stake here,
right? This is how the Senate looks now. Senate horseshoe, pretty even.
Right now it`s 48 Democrats and 51 Republicans. Democrats picked up two
seats last week, but Republicans retained control of the Senate narrowly.
You can see the one clear dot there that`s not filled in, that`s what we`re
talking about tonight. That`s Louisiana.
If a Republican wins that, that would make the difference 48-52, it`d be a
four-seat difference, Republicans would have a fairly firm grip on that
chamber, but if a Democrat would win, that would make the difference
between the Democrats and Republicans only two. That is a gap Democrats
can work with. That is a gap that stuff might happen. You know, winning
this Louisiana Senate seat could mean a world of difference for Democrats
trying to stop the Trump agenda.
As the best website in the world, Wonkette.com, put it today, if a Democrat
won that seat, it means it wouldn`t be as much of a stretch to try to form
majority coalitions with Republican senators who are occasionally decent on
specific issues, like John McCain with Russia or Rand Paul opposing Rudy
Giuliani and John Bolton for secretary of state.
From wonkette.com, quote, “If 49 Democrats can pull a John McCain or a
Susan Collins across the aisle to oppose Trump in erecting a statue of
Vladimir Putin on top of the White House, we might at least be able to
mitigate some of Trump`s damage,” which is what we need.
And I know, I know, Louisiana is a red state. Louisiana went for Donald
Trump by 20 points, for Christ`s sake, but you know what? Louisiana also
did elect a Democrat for governor last year.
And this Louisiana Senate race, the Republican is the state treasurer.
He`s a former Democrat. He unsuccessfully ran in 2004, he became a
Republican in 2007. Smart money says he is favored to win.
But the Democrat in the race is no slouch. He`s public service
commissioners. He`s a cattle farmer. He`s won half of the last Senate
race in the country right now. And he is carrying the hopes of Democrats
not just in Louisiana, but honestly around the nation.
And his name is Foster Campbell.
Joining us now is Foster Campbell. He`s the Louisiana public service
commissioner and Democratic candidate for the last U.S. Senate seat at
stake in the country.
Commissioner, thank you very much for being here. It`s nice to see you.
FOSTER CAMPBELL (D), LOUISIANA SENATE CANDIDATE: Thank you so much, I`m
down here fighting, running against a guy who`s been everything but a
Baptist preacher. He`s been everything.
He`s all over the wall. He`s been a liberal Democrat. He`s been to the
right of Newt Gingrich. So, every day, you don`t know what this guy`s
going to do.
But we`re fighting hard. We`ve got a lot of help. The governor`s
supporting us, we`ve had a lot of help from all over the country and I`m
glad to be in the fight.
We`ve got a real good chance of winning. We`re going to take it to him.
We`re going to talk about his record. We`re going to talk about my record.
I have a record of helping people. I`ve helped consumers all my life. I
wear that badge very proudly. I am for raising the minimum wage. I want
to make sure that women have equal pay and I want to do everything I can to
help this great state of Louisiana and our country.
People will be proud if I`m in the United States Senate. I`ll never vote
to do anything but help Social Security. And I`ll never vote to privatize
Medicare. That would be the worst thing that could ever happen. I won`t
be on their sides there, you can believe that.
MADDOW: Commissioner, you`ve described your opponent as having been
everything but a Baptist preacher, having at one point having been a
liberal Democrat and now something quite different than that.
For a national audience who`s learning about your race for the first time,
who`s being introduced to you for the first time, how would you describe
your own politics? Obviously, you`re running statewide in a red state that
did just elect a Democratic governor, but also picked Donald Trump by a
How would you describe yourself in terms of how you fit on the ideological
number line, if you do?
CAMPBELL: Well, when it comes to people, I`m on their side, when it comes
to consumers, I`m on their side. I`m the guy that took on payday loan
companies in Louisiana, when they charge people 200 to 300 percent
interests. I took on the utility companies and made them reduce their rate
of return on their profit.
I`ve been on the side of consumers all my life. So when it comes to
consumers, I am to the left of the center.
When it comes on money, sometimes I`m very conservative at saving money.
I`ve created the only $1 billion trust fund that`s ever been created for
schools in Louisiana. So when it makes good sense, I`m with the – there`s
an old saying in the South, there`s no wrong way to do the right thing.
I`m going to do the right thing.
MADDOW: Commissioner, do you feel like you`ve received sort of adequate
support, adequate attention from Democrats in your state, from Democrats
around the country. Obviously, there`s a lot of reason, a lot of call to
focus a lot of national attention on your race given the stakes that it has
nationwide. Do you feel like you`re out there on your own or do you feel
like you`re getting national support?
CAMPBELL: No, no, I don`t think I`m on my own. I`m not on my own in
Louisiana. The governor`s supporting me. I was in the state senate for 27
years. My friends are supporting me. They know that I`ll stand up for the
And the people of the United States of America have been great to me.
They`re helping me raise the money I need to put on this campaign.
You know Republicans always have the money. They`ll always have the money,
because big companies put up the money. Big corporations put up the money.
Democrats have a harder time, because usually Democrats don`t have that
kind of money to spread around. But we`ve been getting campaign
contributions from all over, places like Oregon and Wyoming and New York,
New Jersey, California.
So I am very proud to be in this race and I have a great chance to win.
We`re going to the wall. We`re going on my record or his record. My
record is representing people. His record is representing the haves, I`ve
represented the have-nots.
There`s an old verse that what you do for the least of these, you do for
me. I`ve sort of kept that as my motto. I try to help the least of these.
I`m for businesses, doing right, but not for being greedy.
MADDOW: Foster Campbell, Louisiana public service commissioner and the
Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate from Louisiana this year – sir, it`s
nice to meet you. Thanks for being with us tonight. Stay in touch with us
over these next three weeks, if you would.
CAMPBELL: Thank you so much. I appreciate this opportunity.
MADDOW: Sure. Thank you, sir.
All right. We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: Apart from politics, apart from wins and losses and pending races,
miles from competing agendas or tumultuous transition teams or audacious
nepotism, apart from all of that, I have got a little tiny story tonight to
end the show with that will make you sleep better than you have been
sleeping recently. It will make you happy. It will break your heart a
tiny little bit, but in a way that`s worth it. You`ll be glad you saw it.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Best new thing in the world. Are you ready? Ready? Ready.
These images are from March. The stunning three-book series to have
graphic novels, depicting the life and life`s work of civil rights hero,
John Lewis. Since the first of the “March” books came out, Congressman
Lewis has been gracious enough to come on this show with his co-author,
Andrew Aydin, and with artist, Nate Powell. The three of them have come
here to this show, to be here with us, to launch each step in this trilogy
of incredible graphic novels they have put out. And they really are
They show and explain, I think, better than anything else I`ve ever come
across, how John Lewis and his fellow civil rights activists did when they
did. How they won, how hard it was for them, personally, when they went
through as individuals.
I mean, on this show, we`re, you know, blessed. We get to talk to
important people, members of Congress, right, all the time on this show.
In fact, we get to talk to people who write books all the time.
But when Congressman Lewis came to our show to make these announcements
about each edition of “March”, it was like a huge deal to the staff of the
show, because John Lewis isn`t just any member of Congress, right? He`s a
real-life, genuine superhero, the kind you usually see in comics.
And to say that these books that he`s done have been a hit is an absurd
understatement. Book one of “March” made its way to “The New York Times”
best seller list and stayed there for 47 weeks – 47 weeks on the best
seller list, seriously?
Book two won the Eisner Award, which is like winning the Oscar for best
graphic novel. And now the third book, March book three, just got the
National Book Award. What?! And it is very exciting to say that. And
true to form, his acceptance speech was – just watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: Thank you. This is unreal. This is
unbelievable. Some of you know, I grew up in rural Alabama, very, very
poor. Very few books in our home.
And I remember in 1956, when I was sixteen years old, with some of my
brothers and sisters and cousins, going down to the public library, trying
to get library cards – we were told that the library was for whites only,
not for coloreds. And to come here, receive this award, this honor, is too
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Congratulations to Congressman John Lewis and Andrew Aydin and
Nate Powell. Congratulations to everybody who read “March,” including the
approximately 14 zillion of you to whom I sent the book and demanded that
you must read it.
John Lewis, National Book Award recipient – best new thing in the world.
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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