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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 08/10/11

Guests: Steve Benen, Forrest Wilder

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Lawrence. Thank you. And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour. One way to know things are bad in the U.S. economy is when a drop of 520 points on the Dow makes you say oh, is that today`s news or am I looking at an old headline? Didn`t just happen the other day? Today, the Dow, in fact, dropped 520 points, the ninth worst point drop in the history of the Dow. Any minor hesitant joy experienced when the market went up 430 points yesterday was wiped away and then some today. Today`s stock market plunge as opposed to the stock market plunge two days ago or the one six days ago. Today`s stock market was results of fears about Europe, fears about France specifically. About whether France is line to get their credit downgraded, except theirs wouldn`t be because of political stuntmen playing games with the nation`s full faith and credit like ours was, their downgrade would be for worst reasons. And the worries are not just about France but also about Spain and about Italy, too. Broadly speaking, what happened in the market today was not about the United States. It was about the European economic mess. Their turmoil, of course, affects us because we all live in this big unhappy global economy right now. But also because one of the big questions in this big unhappy global economy right now is: can America be a life ring to the rest of the world? Can our recovery be strong enough to help a world in trouble? So far, the answer to that question has been no. What`s weighing down our entire economy is that we are just not growing enough. We do not have enough jobs. America has a jobs problem, and the whole world can tell. And even though jobs have been off the agenda in Washington, as Republicans have said no, no, no, we can only talk about the debt and the deficit, the emergency right now, short-term, is about jobs. This is the imperative right now, something that takes people who are not working right now and makes them go to work because they are getting paid to do a job. That is what is needed. And for that I have an idea. Actually, Michele Bachmann has an idea. But it sounds to me like a great idea. Michele Bachmann has an idea to create 1,500 new jobs in the city of Big Lake, Minnesota, by providing funding for something called the Big Lake Rail Park, a project she notes that will enhance economic development and job opportunities in this rural Minnesota community. There`s 1,500 jobs right there at the Big Lake Rail Park. We know Michele Bachmann wants these jobs because of the intrepid Sam Stein at "The Huffington Post." Sam Stein filed a Freedom of Information Act request to find out if while presidential candidate Michele Bachmann was denouncing the stimulus as -- in her words -- "an orgy of spending," while she was doing that in public, she`s also asking for stimulus funding for her district at the same time. Because, really, regardless of what she was saying publicly for political effect, she actually knows this is the way that government can create jobs. Was she saying something in public that contradicted what she was doing in private? Yes, she`s doing that over and over again. Sam Stein was able to dig up at least 16 separate occasions where Michele Bachmann was publicly denouncing the futility, even the job-killing nature of the stimulus act while privately telling the Obama administration that stimulus programs would create jobs and please, could she have some of that good job-creating federal money for her district. And again, this is not a personal thing, this is not the kind of personal hypocrisy of denouncing Medicaid as a program, like Michele Bachmann has done, while personally benefiting from Medicaid dollars at her family`s business. It`s not the same thing as denouncing farm subsidies, which Michele Bachmann has done while personally benefiting from farm subsidies, which she has also done. That`s a whole different kind of hypocrisy. That`s frankly about the politician as the person, that`s a personal thing. But this is the kind of hypocrisy proves a policy point, which is that Republicans know that there are some things government can do to create jobs. They know that. And so, whatever hypocrisy political points you can score against an individual politician on this sort of thing, that`s sort of beside the point when the country is in the trouble that we are in right now. Look at the Dow today, down another 520 points. We are in an economic pickle right now, we are in really big trouble and, frankly, we need to do something fast. This demonstrative hypocrisy from politicians like Michele Bachmann -- sure, it`s interesting if you`re interested in Michele Bachmann as a person or as a candidate. But more than that, it could be constructive for the whole country. This could actually save the country right now. Steve Benen writing at "Washington Monthly," he`s the man to be credited with this proposal, we`ll be talking about this with Steve about this in just a moment. But, essentially, the idea is this, it`s genius -- right now, we are at risk of a double-dip recession, right? The recovery is sputtering. Things going on globally in the economy are really, really hurting us. There`s both an urgent, urgent need to create jobs quickly, to put jumper cables on the dead battery of this economy. And Republicans are saying they will not let that happen. They don`t want government action to stimulate the economy. There`s nothing government can do to create jobs. That`s what they say. So, in Steve Benen`s words, "Here`s the pitch: have the White House take the several hundred letters Republican lawmakers have sent to the executive branch from 2009 asking for public investments to create jobs and let President Obama announce he will gladly fund all the Republicans` request that have not yet been filled." So, Michele Bachmann, we know that you say you hate the stimulus. We know that you hate the idea of government doing anything like the stimulus act to create jobs. But remember when you wrote to the Transportation Department back in September 2009 asking for stimulus money to help the city of St. Cloud construct and widen a 1.2 mile segment of roadway there - - remember when you asked for that government money because you said it would create 680 jobs? I have an answer for you, Michele Bachmann. The answer, approved. Yes. The answer is yes. There`s 680 new jobs for your district, 680 new jobs for our country, congratulations. Remember when you asked for stimulus funds to reconstruct the Trunk Highway 36 Bridge over the St. Croix River, a project that you said would directly produce 1,407 new jobs per year? The answer? Approved, yes. There`s 1,400 new jobs for your district and therefore for our country. Republican Senator Jeff Sessions in Alabama -- remember when you wrote to the Energy Department in February 2009 asking for federal funds to help build a commercial scale cellulosic ethanol plant in the state of Alabama, a project you said would provide 750 jobs through the region of its proposed rural site? Senator Jeff Sessions, the answer is yes, approved. Enjoy your 750 new jobs. The country needs them. Republican Congressman Jerry Moran of Kansas, remember when you wrote to the Energy Department in July 2009. You asked for stimulus money for a company in your district that`s working on lead-acid batteries, a project you said will create 320 direct manufacturing jobs and more than 1,000 total jobs. Congressman Jerry Moran, the answer is yes, let`s do it. Approved. Don`t tell me that we can`t fund economic stimulus right now. Don`t tell me that the government cannot do anything to create jobs right now because Republicans will object to that. These are things that Republicans asked for, because they know it works. They themselves made the argument that it would work. They put numerical figures on the number of jobs these things would create. They are asking and the answer should be yes. And the answer should be yes for anybody who can benefit from projects like this in the same way that these Republican members of Congress know they can benefit. So, when Michele Bachmann writes to the Obama administration asking for money through the Cops Hiring Recovery Program, she is darn right that it would be good for Cold Spring, Minnesota, to do that. That program would specifically fund police jobs in Cold Spring, Minnesota, which would be good for Cold Spring, Minnesota. That would also be good for the individual cops, it would add jobs to the economy, it would have an overall economic benefit for that community, for that state, and therefore, for the country. That is true in Cold Spring, Minnesota. That`s the reason Michele Bachmann asked for it. It`s true in Cold Spring, Minnesota and it is true in every other community around the country that has benefited from the line item in the Recovery Act that was for hiring cops. Reinstate that across the country. Do not tell me Republicans would object to that, Republicans have asked for that, even if they did only ask for themselves. They say that politics is the art of the possible, right? The Beltway has been saying for more than a year that any political action to save the economy is pretty much impossible because Republicans just will not allow it. But we as a country have been through four huge shocks that frankly should have changed everybody`s perception about what is politically possible right now. Over the last two weeks, we learned that the recession that we are trying to crawl out of now was even worse than we originally thought it was. We came within a whisker of defaulting on our debt for the first time in our history because of the Republican Party`s flirtation with that sort of catastrophic default. We had our credit rating downgraded for the first time ever. And now, thanks to all of these factors and more the market looks like this every other day or so. We have endured all of these dramatic shocks to our economic psyche in just the last two weeks. Anybody who tells you about what`s possible and impossible in Washington, if their list of what`s impossible is the same now as it was before all of these shocks, stop listening to that person. We haven`t had just a wake-up call. We`ve had a wake-up call followed by an alarm clock, followed by somebody throwing a bucket of water on us, followed by a burglar entering the bedroom and grabbing us by the neck. We are awake. And even if nobody is willing to say the word "infrastructure" or "stimulus" or even "|investment" because Republicans are supposedly opposed to those things, Republicans are supposedly opposed to any government action to create jobs -- why can`t you just use the Republicans patent hypocrisy against them? This is the list of Republicans who have made requests for the government to create jobs in their state or districts by funding specific projects. We put this list together more than a year ago when all the Republicans were saying they were against the stimulus but they were busy asking for stimulus money to create jobs. We posted this list from our previous cover age on our Web site tonight, as a reference. We also posted Sam Stein`s new details on Michele Bachmann`s funding request, as well as the reporting done on this subject by the Center of Public Integrity and by Think Progress. All this stuff is out there. It could be used, just add up the things that Republicans have said will create jobs if the government would just spend money on it and just start there. You don`t have to call it a jobs program, you don`t have to call it stimulus if you don`t want to, just start there. All their bridges and road building projects that would create jobs, approve it. Yes, every program they lobby for that is a national program that will create jobs and help the economy, approve it -- even if they are only asking for it for their own district, approve it for the country. If they know it would work in their districts, that means it would work in other districts, too. Say yes -- just start there. Don`t call it a stimulus. Don`t call it anything. If you call it anything, they`ll say they are against the thing. Just start creating jobs and use what they asked for as the reason to do it. If the Republican opposition is the problem, this is the way around it. Joining us now is the genius who came up to this plan, Steve Benen, contributing writer to "Washington Monthly." Steve, it`s great to see you. Thank you so much for doing this, my friend. STEVE BENEN, WASHINGTON MONTHLY: It`s good to see you. Thank you, Rachel. MADDOW: The idea here is that this could maybe work as long as -- as long as you don`t call it a jobs program -- as long as you don`t call it a second stimulus, or infrastructure investment. If the White House and Democrats were going to do this and the idea was to avoid Republican opposition, should they call it something else or do it in a piecemeal way as if it isn`t a program? BENEN: I think at this point their rhetoric is almost irrelevant. You know, you can call it a stimulus. But at this point, Republicans consider that were a punch line. You can call it investment, but they consider it code for whatever it is they consider it code for. And so, at this point, the rhetoric, the sales pitch, it doesn`t make a different because Republicans are just so strongly against any kind of government spending at all. But that`s all the more reason for pursuing an idea like this. If this is a list that Republicans came up with saying these are things they believe will create jobs in their own communities, their own districts, their own states, then at a minimum, if Democrats want to make these investments and create jobs, start here. Now, one might say, well, at that point, you might look at job opportunities in blue districts and blue states. But fine, we can get to that later. If we just want to get -- inject capital into the system, create jobs right away, we want to create demand in this economy -- we can start with the list Republicans came up with and make an immediate difference. MADDOW: It does feel a little weird, `m self conscious about singling out Michele Bachmann`s request because even though she`s a presidential candidate, she really has been a very fringe figure in Congress. For example, she has never had a piece of legislation pass in her time in Congress. But do you think Michele Bachmann is actually useful here politically? Are her requests and is her candidacy useful for the politics here? BENEN: Perhaps. I mean, when you look at Michele Bachmann and the context of Congress, she is not necessarily unique. As you noted in the earlier segment, she is one of many who have requested public funds, when it comes to privately in their capacity as members of Congress -- but then publicly rail against public spending. So, to a certain extent, she`s not unique. But at the same time, she is uniquely brazen. She is someone who, for example, one of my favorite examples that Sam Stein came up with, was that she requested funding from the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency, for her district despite the fact she doesn`t believe the EPA should even exist, and she actually wants to eliminate the agency altogether. And so, given all of that, you know, trying to communicate to Republicans the importance of these kinds of projects, Democrats are in a position to say, well, even Michele Bachmann believes that all this public spending can create jobs and help the economy, then other Republicans can certainly go along because she`s to their right. MADDOW: And there`s not very many people in the caucus about whom you can say that. But you`re right about her. Of all the stuff that could be done to help fix the economy, to create jobs in the short-term, infrastructure is actually one of the things that Republicans speak most kindly about. Is this one of those things where Democrats are a little afraid of their own shadow here, there might actually be some room to move on infrastructure if they target what they are trying to do specifically enough? BENEN: Well, maybe. You know, one would like to think that this is an area for common ground. Traditionally, Democrats and Republicans have agreed infrastructure spending is good for the economy, it`s good for innovation. This is something that everyone can kind of agree on traditionally. But I know you`ve talk about in the show before, we`re in an environment where now Republicans are against the ideas that they are for. You look back at the deficit commission or cap and trade or individual mandate in health care -- these were all Republican ideas. Democrats figured, well, if they embrace the Republican ideas, then they`d be able to build on that in terms of common ground. But then Republicans decided that they are against their own ideas, which at that point raises the question of whether common ground is possible at all. I mean, Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, two years ago, was in his district and endorsed a high-speed rail program which is very lucrative, create a lot of job -- and he was there, there for the ribbon- cutting ceremony. Now, he`s against it. At that point, what are you going to do with a member of Congress who is against his own ideas? MADDOW: You can flummox them by saying, yes -- I suppose, which I think is the basic idea here. Steve Benen, contributing writer to "The Washington Monthly." Steve, as you know, I read your blog every day and I really appreciate you coming on the show tonight. I know it`s not the easiest thing for you to do, so thank you. BENEN: Thank you for having me. MADDOW: All right. You know, here comes the presidential campaign of Texas Governor Rick Perry and because here comes the presidential campaign of Rick Perry, here comes the really important reporting out of Texas about Rick Perry. Please stay tuned for that. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: The most interesting thing in presidential politics right now is Governor Rick Perry of Texas. The first presidential nominating process is, of course, the Iowa caucuses, which were held in January last time around. They are set for February this time around. And the Iowa caucuses are designed to capitalize, literally to capitalize -- to make money, sorry, Iowa politics in order to capitalize to make money off the candidate`s early attention to Iowa, also hold the Ames, Iowa, straw poll -- a fake, very unscientific poll that they encourage candidates to spend a ton of money try to win, to supposedly give those candidates momentum heading into the caucuses, to supposedly give the momentum heading into the rest of the primaries. It`s a racket, frankly, particularly the straw poll, but even the whole idea of Iowa`s outside influence and whether or not their caucus is all that important. It`s not that important most years, just ask President Huckabee who won the Iowa Republican caucuses last time around or President Romney, who won the straw poll last time around. In Republican politics, Iowa doesn`t matter that much anymore, but the beltway thinks it does. And so, the Beltway is all excited about the straw poll this weekend. And like a snake eating its own tails, the Beltway`s interest gives it whatever interest it does have, which justifies the Beltway interest which -- and so on and so on. But this year, there is a problem in Iowa coverage, which is that the front runner for the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney, is not doing any campaigning for the straw poll. He`s not really trying to win it, which means him losing the straw poll wouldn`t really mean anything because he didn`t try to win it, and him winning the straw poll wouldn`t really mean anything either since he`s the frontrunner anywhere. Also, to the extent that the Republican race right now is about who can beat Mitt Romney, about who has any chance of being the nominee other than him, well, Texas Governor Rick Perry just screwed up Iowa coverage for this weekend, too. Governor Rick Perry is not technically running for president yet, and he`s not one of the candidates in the straw poll. But, nationally, he is polling second to Mitt Romney in some polls. That was true last month in polling from Gallup and it`s true this month in a brand new poll from McClatchy/Marist. When nearly every other candidate in the race will be working for a good showing at the straw poll on Saturday, and some hope that they could win Iowa and some coverage thereof -- Rick Perry has chosen the day of the straw poll as the day he`ll start his unofficial campaign with speeches and appearances that day in South Carolina and in New Hampshire, and then another round of "I`m running for president" events on Sunday, the following day, in Iowa. It has seemed like Rick Perry was about to get into this race for awhile now -- why is he finally doing it? Why is he finally getting in? Part of it maybe the opportunity to stick it to all the other wannabe Romney challengers who really need good news coverage of their campaigns in Iowa in order to become contenders -- news coverage that Rick Perry has a opportunity to block frankly by jumping in this weekend and stealing all the headlines. But the other that may have cleared Rick Perry`s campaign for take off here is that it is only this week that Rick Perry has successfully put behind him his big stadium prayer event in Texas. This past Saturday in Houston, Governor Perry, less than half-filled Reliant Stadium for a prayer rally, a Christians only prayer rally event, to ask God to take over projects like fixing the economy. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: I`m all too aware of government`s limitations when it comes to fixing things that are spiritual in nature. That`s where prayer comes in, and we need it more than ever. With the economy in trouble, communities in crisis, and people adrift in a sea of moral relativism, we need God`s help. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Governor Perry invited governors in the country to come to his stadium prayer event in Houston. In the end, only Sam Brownback of Kansas showed up in person. But the political risk here for Governor Perry was not about attendance at his event. It was not even about seeming overtly to mix the roles of church and state -- whatever you think about that issue, that frankly is a constitutional conflation that Republican candidates have been long-delighted to commit. Now, the risk for Texas Governor Rick Perry stadium prayer event this past week, the risk for his presidential campaign was not that he held a stadium prayer event. It was that the particular stadium prayer event he held was with these guys. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) C. PETER WAGNER, ONE-TIME "THE RESPONSE" ENDORSER: Japan, has a nation, is one of the nations of the world which has consciously, openly invited national demonization. The sun goddess visits him in person and has sexual intercourse with the emperor. BRYAN FISCHER, AMERICAN FAMILY ASSOCIATION: Permits, in my judgment, should not be granted to build even one more mosque in the United States of America, not one. MIKE BICKLE, "THE RESPONSE" ENDORSER: The harlot of Babylon is preparing the nations to receive the antichrist. The harlot of Babylon will be a religion of affirmation, toleration, no absolutes, a counterfeit justice movement. WAGNER: So the emperor becomes one flesh with the sun goddess, and that`s an invitation for the sun goddess to continue to demonize the whole nation. Since the night that that ended the present emperor slept with the sun goddess, the stock market in Japan has gone down, never come up since. BICKLE: I believe that one of the main pastors as a forerunner to the harlot movement, it`s not the harlot movement yet, is Oprah. She is winsome, she is kind, she is reasonable, she is utterly deceived -- utterly deceived. A classy woman, a cool woman, a charming woman, but has a spirit of deception, and she`s one of the clear pastors, forerunners, to the harlot movement. JOHN HAGEE, "THE RESPONSE" ENDORSER: God sent a hunter. A hunter is someone with a gun, and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter. How did it happen? Because God allowed it to happen. Why did it happen? Because God said my top priority for the Jewish people is to get them to come back to the land of Israel. FISCHER: Hitler discovered he could not get straight soldiers to be savage and brutal and vicious enough to carry out his orders but that homosexual soldiers basically had no limits in the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict on whoever Hitler sent them after. So, he surrounded himself, virtually all the storm troopers, the brown shirts, were male homosexuals. JOHN BENEFIEL, "THE RESPONSE" ENDORSER: You know, there`s a statue in New York harbor called the Statute of Liberty. You know where we got it from? French Freemasons. Listen, folks, that is an idol, a demonic idol right there in the middle of New York harbor. FISCHER: Counterfeit religions, alternative religions to Christianity have no First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion. CINDY JACOBS, "THE RESPONSE" ENDORSER: What happens when a nation makes a decision that is against God`s principles? Well, often what happens is the nature itself will begin to talk to us. For instance, violent storms, flooding. HAGEE: I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God and they are -- were recipients of the judgment of god for that. The newspaper carried the story in our local area that was not carried nationally, that there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that Katrina came. JACOBS: The blackbirds fell to the ground in Beebe, Arkansas; well, the governor of Arkansas`s name is Beebe, and, also, there was something put out of Arkansas called Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell by a former governor; this was proposed by Bill Clinton. And so, could there be a connection? It could be, because we have said it`s OK for people to commit these kind of acts to be recognized, you know, in our military for the first time in our history. There is a potential that there is something that actually happened in the land where 100,000 drum fish died and also where these birds just fell out of the air. (END VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: Those are some of the religious figures with whom Rick Perry did his stadium prayer event this past weekend. And while many of their statements and views seem eyebrow raising for being associated with this supposedly mainstream presidential campaign, I think it`s worth taking seriously where there are all these eyebrow raising statements with all these people associated with the Rick Perry event. These are not just one-off comments by these individual pastors where they had a moment where they said something that sounded strange. A lot of these pastors allied with Rick Perry, they say things that do maybe sound strange, but they are saying things that also sound a lot like each other. There are some patterns among these folks, for example. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) WAGNER: There is a spirit called a harlot. BICKLE: The harlot Babylon. WAGNER: She has fornication. BICKLE: The harlot Babylon will be a religion of affirmation, toleration, no absolutes. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Libertas is also called the freedom goddess. BICKLE: She is winsome, she is kind, she is reasonable, she is utterly deceived. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: False goddess. BICKLE: Utterly deceived. WAGNER: Sun goddess. The goddess of liberty, Japan, as a nation, is one of the nations of the world which has consciously, openly invited national demonization. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We practice idolatry in America in ways we don`t even recognize. JACOBS: What happens when a nation makes a decision that is against God`s principles? WAGNER: The stock market in Japan has gone down. JACOBS: Violent storms, flooding. (END VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: If you are noticing an argumentative pattern here, there`s a reason for that. According to this month`s extensively reported cover story in "The Texas Observer," the reason you`re hearing thematic similarities from all these pastors from the Rick Perry event is because many of them are part of a little-known, very specific religious and political movement that has a name. It`s called the New Apostolic Reformation. The main idea of the New Apostolic Reformation theology is that they are modern day prophets and apostles. They believe they have a direct line to God. C. Peter Wagner, the sort of founder of this movement, wrote in 2006 book that the first age of the apostles occurred just after Jesus was resurrected a couple thousand years ago. The second apostolic age started, in his words, around the year 2001. And the new apostles for the second apostolic age are, of course, C. Peter Wagner and the other people who are in this movement. Unlike rapture-ready evangelicals who think the end of the world is upon us now and it`s time to get ready and fast, the New Apostolic Reformation guys believe that the only way the world can end is if they clear the way for it. And the way that they`re going to clear the way for it is by infiltrating and taking over politics and government, taking over what they describe actually as the "Seven Mountains" of society. The seven are family, religion, arts and entertainment, media, education, business, and government. They want to take over all of those things. They are making plans it take over all of those things, and that will clear the way for rapture, bingo. "The Texas Observer" identified more than half a dozen New Apostolic Reformationists who have also been listed as organizers or endorsers of Rick Perry stadium prayer event this past weekend, including Mike Bickle, who you heard earlier thinks Oprah is the forerunner to the antichrist, the harlot movement thing. He`s listed as a national endorser of the response event. John Benefiel who you heard thinks the Statue of Liberty is a demonic idol. He`s also listed as a national endorser. Cindy Jacobs who you heard say that she thinks "don`t ask, don`t tell" caused birds to fall out of the sky in Arkansas. She`s listed as a national endorser as well. And C. Peter Wagner himself is the Japan stock market never recovered from the sex with the sun goddess thing, he used to be listed as the national endorser. But the night before the event, we could no longer find him on the Web site anymore. Rick Perry did not just do a prayer event in Texas that was a no nonsense Christians allowed. Rick Perry did a prayer event that involved a specific Christian political movement, a movement that has political goals and wants a political vehicle and that seems to want a Rick Perry presidential candidacy to be their political vehicle. The "Texas Observer" begins its story about these new, self-styled apostles with the story about a visit two of them paid to Governor Perry in Austin in 2009. Quote, "The pastors told Perry of God`s grand plan for Texas. A chain of powerful prophecies had proclaimed that Texas was `The Prophet State` anointed by God to lead the United States into revival and Godly government. And the governor would have a special role." The New Apostolic Reformation movement appears to have chosen Rick Perry as their candidate, as their vehicle for their political goal, which is, of course, you know, world domination, blah, blah, blah. Rick Perry is announcing the presidential start of his campaign this weekend in New Hampshire and South Carolina and in Iowa, after hosting a stadium prayer event with all of these folks and frankly getting away with no one in the Beltway media reporting on who those folks are or why they just did the stadium prayer event with Rick Perry. Forrest Wilder wrote the "Texas Observer" cover story on this. He joins us next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: It was billed as a, quote, "major announcement" from the Jon Huntsman for president campaign this week. And this morning we finally found out what it was -- Jon Huntsman just got the endorsement of Bush -- not that one -- no, not that one either. Nope, actually, no, not that one. It was -- do we have -- this one. Jeb Bush, Jr. The promised major announcement from the Jon Huntsman for president campaign this week turns out to be an endorsement from Jon huntsman by George W. Bush`s nephew who has never held public office. If you have been wondering why there was excitement this year about Rick Perry joining the presidential race, Jon Huntsman, I`m sorry, but that`s why. If you have been wondering about emotions other than excitement about Rick Perry joining the presidential race -- that story is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PERRY: As an elected leader, I`m all too aware of government`s limitations when it comes to fixing things that are spiritual in nature. That`s where prayer comes in, and we need it more than ever. With the economy in trouble, communities in crisis and people adrift in a sea of moral relativism, we need God`s help. That`s why I`m calling on Americans to pray and fast like Jesus did and as God called the Israelites to do in the Book of Joel. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That, of course, as Texas Governor Rick Perry inviting America to join him in solving things like the economy at his prayer event at Reliant Stadium in Houston this past weekend. The event hosted in conjunction with a number of leaders of a religious and political movement who see themselves as the second group of humans picked to be Jesus` apostles -- after the ones you might be more familiar with from the Bible. The New Apostolic Reformation has embraced Rick Perry as part of their own goal to frankly take over government in order to take over the world. They and their connection to Rick Perry`s presidential aspirations are the subject of "Texas Monthly`s" cover story this month. The author of that piece if Forrest Wilder. He`s staff writer for the "Texas Observer" and he joins us tonight for the interview. Forrest Wilder, thanks very much for making time for us. I really appreciate it. FORREST WILDER, TEXAS OBSERVER: Great to be here. MADDOW: What is the relationship between this New Apostolic Reformation movement that you`ve been writing about and what everyone else in national politics describes as Rick Perry`s religious right base? WILDER: Well, Rick Perry, in putting on the response, selected a very particular group of people to help him organize it, to promote it, to endorse it. And this group of people known as the New Apostolic Reformation movement, as you discussed. And they are really kind of at the outer peripheral or sort of bleeding edge of American Christianity. And so, it`s interesting that he picked them. I mean, he could have gone more moderate. He could have put on an event that had Joel Osteen`s more moderate evangelicals. But the fact he picked the apostles and prophets crowd, as well as some Christians and others kind of a margin I think says a lot about, one, his political strategy as he goes into the presidential primary, but also maybe a bit about where he`s coming from as a person and as a politician. MADDOW: I -- my general -- my general feeling about faith and politics is that nobody`s theology is of political interest unless they are trying to legislate faith. And there`s two part of that, if their faith and the way they practice their faith leads them to having interest or pursuing policies, that`s of interest. But also if their faith is using their candidacy in accomplishing theological goals, I think of the New Apostolic Reformation movement from your writing and from others, as a political movement, as a goal that -- as a group that has political goals. Do you see it that way and what are their political goals? WILDER: Absolutely, and, in fact, at the response, a lot of the coverage of it said it was essentially apolitical. When they are talking about revival, which was a major theme of the response, they are not just talking about a spiritual revival, they are also talking about a political revival. Just as one kind of small example, there`s an anti-abortion prayer that was read several times at the response, also sung in the form of a song, which ended God end abortion and send revival to America. It is not that there`s a 12-point agenda that they`ve handed out or anything like that, it`s just that the basis -- the theological basis for the new apostolic affirmation movement, is as you pointed out, taking control of the seven mountains -- government, media, family, arts and entertainment, so on and so forth. A particular group of Christians taking control of the seven mountains in order to bring about Godly government and the eventually return of Jesus. And so, these things are the political and the spiritual religious aspects are totally tied up with each other and really can`t be totally disentangled. MADDOW: It is clear these folks seem to be politically ambitious, even if it is for theological reasons. It does seem that they also picked Rick Perry by allying themselves like this with him. But is it clear that Rick Perry has chosen them back, that he embraces their world view in important ways, that he would see becoming president as something that had theological consequences? WILDER: You know, I don`t know if we know entirely what his relationship is with them to what extent he may share their believes, but the fact again that he picked them to organize this event says at least that he`s comfortable with them being on a stage with him. I mean, he very literally elevated this set of individuals and organizations and this movement to the national stage. And he, you know, surely he`s a savvy politician. He knew the significance of that for himself going into this campaign, but and also folks involved in this movement and leadership who believe that there may actually believe prophecies that they as prophets and apostles have received from God that talk about Texas` role in this spiritual and political revival and the role that Perry may play as a literal instrument, instrument of God. You know? And there was a moment at the response, right before he gave his speech, which he embraced a woman named Alice Patterson (ph). This was a figure who believes, for example, the Democratic Party is controlled by Jezebel. So, does Rick Perry believe the Democratic Party is controlled by Jezebel? You know, I don`t know. But it`s certainly something that is interesting to explore a little bit further. MADDOW: I will call him and I will ask him, and you will be the 40,000th person to know if I get an answer for him. Forrest Wilder, staff writer for "The Texas Observer," thank you for your reporting and thanks for joining us to talk about it tonight. I really appreciate it. WILDER: Thank you. MADDOW: We will be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Depending on what time zone you were in, did you not know all the results from yesterday`s recall election in Wisconsin until very late last night or very early today. It was a nail biter, down to the wire, a cliffhanger and a whole bunch of other metaphors that basically mean if you were like me, you did not get to sleep until way past your bedtime last night. Six incumbent Republicans faced recall election in a backlash against those Republicans who supported Republican Governor Scott Walker stripping of union rights in Wisconsin. Two Democrats did unseat the Republicans they targeted yesterday. Jennifer Shilling beat Republican incumbent Dan Kapanke, 55 to 45. And Jessica King defeated incumbent Randy Hopper, 51 to 49 percent. Jessica King`s victory rally which you can see here captured the spirit of a lot of happy Democrats in the state last night. They were pumped up. They recalled two Republican senators from office, thus reducing the Republican majority in Wisconsin Senate down to one. That said, had Democrats prevailed in just one more race, they wouldn`t have just narrowed the Republicans majority, Democrats would have been in control of the state senate. They didn`t get that. So, bottom line: Republicans were delighted they didn`t lose control of the state senate. Democrats were disappointed they did not win that. But Democrats are happy they picked off two senators and they`re happy the margin in the Senate is at least down for now, down to one Republican vote. But also Democrats say today they are happy with what last night`s numbers might mean for a planned effort next year. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CROWD: Recall Walker! Recall Walker! Recall Walker! (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Recall Walker they are saying, Republican Governor Scott Walker. Folks celebrating at Jessica King`s victory rally did not wait a day to turn their next focus to their next target, to Governor Walker, show the Democratic Party in Wisconsin confirmed today that he`d like to begin the process of recalling the governor, quote, "as soon as feasible." The governor can`t be recalled until he`s been in office a full year, that requirement will be met this coming January. In other to force a vote, organizers would then have 60 days to collect more than half million signatures, which is a ton of signatures. If Democrats decide to try it and if they get the signatures, and they force a recall election against Scott Walker, how vulnerable would Scott Walker be after just one year on the job? Well, Nate Silver at "The New York Times" crunched the numbers today and found that Scott Walker is more vulnerable than you might expect. Here`s what we know: Scott Walker was elected governor last year with 52 percent of the vote statewide. But in the six districts in which Republicans were challenged last night, Governor Walker did even better than that. That`s part of why those were uphill races for Democrats last night. Statewide, Walker you`ll recall got 52 percent. But in those six districts from last night, he didn`t get 52 percent of the vote, he got almost 56 percent. So, while the whole state went for Scott Walker in 2010. These six districts from last night, really, really went for Scott Walker. Now, here`s the bad news for the governor going-forward. In those six elections last night, only one of the Republican senators did as well or better than Scott Walker did last year. What does that mean? How does that predict Governor Walker might fare in a recall election if there is one? If you extrapolate from last night`s results statistically, if Wisconsin votes in the same pattern they voted in last night, in a hypothetical recall of Scott Walker. Well, I`ll just quote Nate Silver from "The New York Times" here. "What that means is that if you want to use Tuesday`s results as a proxy for a recall vote on Mr. Walker, that would be point toward a recall vote that would be too close to call. Democrats would have gotten 49.4 percent of the vote, Democrats 50.6 percent, according to this method." Democrats are disappointed, of course, that they didn`t take the Wisconsin Senate last night. The Democrats are also excited about what they did do in Republican territory, whittling the Republican Senate majority down to one seat. And if most of what counts as Republican territory is now less Republican in Wisconsin than it used to be, then Republican Governor Scott Walker is still a national news story. And a recall effort against him will be two. And Wisconsin will be still the pulsing, throbbing heart of the Republican Party and its long ignored but not apocryphal base. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: "The Best New Thing in the World" returns tomorrow. It involves espionage and cutoff shorts and deep thoughts. I promise. That does it for us tonight. "The Best New Thing in the World" in the next five seconds will be "THE ED SHOW," where Ed Schultz`s truly stellar coverage of the political situation in Wisconsin continues. Please stay tuned for that. And have a great night. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END