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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 10/05/11

Guests: Xeni Jardin, Jeff Liszt, Tom Vilsack

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, "THE LAST WORD" HOST: Lance, we have to break it there. I`m sorry. Lance Ulanoff of, thank you very much for joining me tonight. THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW is up next. Good evening, Rachel. RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Lawrence. Thank you. And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour. If you have already heard the news tonight, chances are high that word of the news tonight came to you on a device for which he was responsible, the iPhone, the Mac, the iPad. Steve Jobs was the man behind all of those. Tonight, Apple, the company he used to run announced Steve Jobs passed away at the age of 56. Apple did not announce a cause of death, but it would be hard to characterize his death as entirely unexpected. Mr. Jobs stepped down from the company in August. Back in 2009, of course, he underwent a liver transplant. And it was seven years ago that he underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer. Just yesterday, Apple held a press conference unveiling its latest iPhone. And I have to tell you, it was viscerally strange -- really just profoundly odd not to see Steve Jobs up there on stage in his little black turtleneck and his jeans -- as there were those years in the late `80s and early `90s when Steve Jobs worked somewhere else. But despite that, when you thought of Apple, you thought of Steve Jobs. And we thought of Apple a lot. Just as much as Apple was and still is, it changed the way that America consumes media and uses the power of computing. It all began in 1984 with the company`s first big press conference to introduce its Macintosh computer. Before that in 1976, there was Apple 1. 1977, they had considerable success with Apple 2. Apple 3 didn`t go so well in 1980. But the big Super Bowl ad they ran in 1984 and the unveiling of the Mac in 1984 was a big deal. And, I mean, if you can forget your iPad for a moment, you can forget how easy our technology is to use now. There was a time when unveiling an Apple computer looked so radical, specifically because it looked like something that a human might use. It also looked like something that was really small compared to what we were used to thinking of as computers. The fact that this object that they unveiled in 1984 could show graphics and not just text on a screen was revolutionary. Watch how he unveiled it. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STEVE JOBS, APPLE FOUNDER AND CEO: You`ve just seen some pictures of Macintosh. I`d like to show you Macintosh in person. All of the images you are about to see on the large screen will be generated by what`s in that bag. (APPLAUSE AND CHEERS) (MUSIC) (APPLAUSE AND CHEERS) VOICE: Hello, I am Macintosh. It sure is great to get out of that bag. As unaccustomed as I am to public speaking, I`d like to share with you a maxim I thought of the first time I met an IBM mainframe: Never trust a computer you can`t lift. Obviously, I can talk, but right now, I`d like to sit back and listen. So it is with considerable pride that I introduce a man who`s been like a father to me, Steve Jobs. (APPLAUSE AND CHEERS) (END VIDEOTAPE) MADDOW: The anthropomorphizing of technology -- making you want, viscerally want to have some sort of interaction with that technology, instead of being alienated by it or intimidated by it or bored by it, frankly. Computer with that voice, with that computerized voice which I remember from that time, I was 11 when this came out. I remember that voice. It says never trust a computer you can`t lift -- making fun of IBM mainframe. The Macintosh was a computer you could pick up. It had a handle. That was revolutionary -- personal computing for persons, for people who didn`t know from computers. It was the first real breach of the distance between the immense power of computing and regular people`s ability to access that power. Apple and Steve Jobs created the expectation which did not exist before. They created the expectation that people would have to be able to use this powerful technology in the way that made sense to the people. Not just to the computer or to the engineers who had designed that machine. But it was at its root a fate of engineering and also a fate of convincing the American public to buy something we didn`t previously know we wanted. It was huge technological success and it was huge business success and, boy, did it pay. For a time this summer, Apple overtook ExxonMobil as the most valuable company in the United States. For a while, Apple had even more cash on hand than the United States Treasury. Apple saying tonight in a statement, quote, "Steve`s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve." Bill Gates, the former chief executive of Apple`s great rival Microsoft adding in his own statement, quote, "The world rarely sees someone who`s had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come. For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it has been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely." "Insanely great" obviously a reference to the unveiling in 1984 of the Macintosh computer and the ostentatious, anthropomorphic achievement that it could write something goobery in cursive when everything else is ones and zeroes and bright green text and black bright screen. Steve Jobs in 2005 gave the commencement address at Stanford University. And in that address, he talked about not only his career and what people ought to think about with their own futures but he talked in a way that now in retrospect is striking and hard to believe about his own mortality. Listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOBS: Remembering that I`ll be dead soon is the most important tool I`ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything -- all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure -- these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. About a year ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn`t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor`s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you`d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes. I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening, I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and, thankfully, I`m fine now. (APPLAUSE) JOBS: This was the closest I`ve been to facing death, and I hope it`s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept: No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don`t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It`s life`s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now, the new is you. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Steve Jobs speaking at Stanford University in 2005. This is how the front page of the brilliant Web site is honoring Steve Jobs tonight. If you sat down to write at the keyboard of an early Macintosh computer as I did many times, this tribute will look forward to you. Joining us now is Xeni Jardin of, one of the best intellectually ambitious writers and thinkers on technology that I know of in the country. Xeni, thanks for being with us. XENI JARDIN, BOINGBOING.NET: Thank you, Rachel. MADDOW: You`ve written about Steve Jobs as an influence on technology. But I wonder -- looking at that Stanford address and thinking about his career and his contributions on the occasion of his death tonight, what do you think he meant to the country broadly? How do you think he changed the country? JARDIN: You know, as I was preparing to come here to the studio tonight to talk to you, I got all these e-mails and tweets and DMs from people saying: do him justice. And I think for a lot of us who were born in the `70s, the same decade that Apple was formed, the same decade that Jobs` vision for democratizing technology and for improving life through design in this unusual way, for those of us who are from this era, his passing marks an end of an era -- an end of a shared experience that has helped to form all of our lives. If you think about the way this man saw design, he said it, himself. Design isn`t just the way something looks and feels. Design is how it works. And so much of what he contributed to technology was about seeing technology as an extension of the human mind and as a way to extend our capabilities to communicate, to connect, to perceive the world more richly. It`s a really sad day to see him pass. MADDOW: And in terms of what you said there about democratizing technology, using good design to do that, I think that it`s -- I think that we -- when people talk about Steve Jobs as a visionary, I think that the basic thing that people are talking about is this idea that design had to start being part of the way that you competed. But I think you`re getting at something a little bit deeper there about it being functionally important that stuff became easy to use and that there became an expectation that stuff became easier to use. The easier things were to use, the more people could use them. And that`s not the most complicated idea in the world except when you combine it with the idea that once everybody can use these machines, they can then use them infinitely. There wasn`t like an advanced Macintosh for smarter people or for techier people. JARDIN: That`s right. MADDOW: The ground level was accessible to everybody and the furthest you could go was the furthest anybody could go. I feel like that was different about Apple and jobs than anybody else. Do you feel that way? JARDIN: It certainly was a radical idea at the time that Apple formed -- at the time that this part of the computer revolution took form. The idea that you didn`t have to be a fancy person with a computer engineering degree in a suit to operate a highly powerful computer with incredible capabilities, the idea that you could be just a regular person. This idea that when technology becomes really, really revolutionary, it`s the moment that our parents, that our children, that grandma and grandpa can do simple tasks on a device, that same device that might be used by scientists, by pilots, by people operating spaceships, by doctors in surgery rooms. If we have a common language of technology, that common platform of technology, I feel like that`s this sort of greater arch of Steve Jobs` legacy. I don`t think it`s an accident, either, that someone who had that kind of depth of insight that we heard in that timeless 2005 commencement speech that he gave, he spent times -- he spent time in ashrams. He dropped LSD. He studied calligraphy. He studied Buddhism. He studied Hindu religion. He explored ancestral traditions, spiritual traditions. He was veraciously curious and incorporated things that people at the time didn`t think were part of computer science and were part of design, and that kind of ability to see things differently like in that great 1997 Apple ad campaign. That the idea of seeing the world differently and creating technology that matches that rebellious vision, that is how he will be remembered. And his life changed our lives. His work, his design, his vision of technology really did change the world. I will forever be grateful for that. MADDOW: Xeni, when we talk -- the kinds of traits you were talking about make sense to me in terms of how you end up with an inventor or a visionary -- again, how he`s being lauded today. The thing that I feel like I`ve never fully understood is how Apple as a company stayed so ahead of the rest of the industry. I mean, even now, the big question in tech right now, in commercial -- in consumer tech is who can come up with something that`s like the iPad. How did that translate into a company, a 50,000-employee company that was so consistently ahead of the curve and ahead of all their competitors? JARDIN: People will be writing newspaper articles and blog posts and books about that for many years to come. I don`t have the answer. And it will be -- it will be really interesting to see what happens with Apple and what happens with personal computer technology in the years to come. People think of Apple, people have thought of Apple for so long as Steve Jobs. He embodied that company, that line of products, that approach to design so personally. I think it would be a mistake to try to clone some of the details of maybe how he ran the company or how he approached the design process. There`s some -- there`s some great lessons to learn there that I think will be uncovering and unraveling for a long time to come. But he changed the way that we communicate with each other. He changed the way we think about what is possible in technology. And it`s really hard to understate the importance of this day, Rachel. MADDOW: Xeni Jardin of -- Xeni, thank you for joining us. It`s been too long since we`ve had you on the show. I hope to have you back under happier circumstances. But thanks for being here. JARDIN: Thank you, Rachel. MADDOW: There`s a ton of other news tonight. It has been sort of an amazing news day you can`t quite believe was all one day. We`ll have quite a bit of it coming up and another look back at Apple`s Steve Jobs. We will be right back. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOBS: Your time is limited, so don`t waste it living someone else`s life. Don`t be trapped by dogma which is living with the results of other people`s thinking. Don`t let the noise of other`s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition -- they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: We`ll have more tonight on the death of Apple`s Steve Jobs. Plus, the Marie Antoinette response to the "Occupy Wall Street" protests. And the end of the Sarah Palin campaign for president that didn`t actually ever start despite lots of evidence and lots of consternation to the contrary. We will be right back. There`s lots ahead tonight. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: OK, quick. Name the most recognizable polling organizations in the country, name the ones that come to mind first. Give you a second. What did you come up with? Gallup probably? Maybe Zogby. Maybe NBC News/"Wall Street Journal," or PPP, or ABC News/"Washington Post." OK, here`s one for you: American Express. Polls by American Express? Did you know American Express did polling? American Express does polling. And apparently, at least in some cases, American Express only polls rich people. You have to have a six-figure income to even be polled by American Express to even be asked questions in the American Express poll. And what exactly did those rich folks want when American express asks them questions? It turns out those rich folks want rich people to be taxed more. The latest American Express poll done by research firm called the Harrison Group found that 65 percent of people who have at least six-figure incomes, 65 percent of them would support tax increases on people making $1 million a year or more. So, A, American Express does polls of rich people, B, rich people want higher taxes on rich people. Hmm. Want to know what the Tea Party wants right now? I have empirical information about what the Tea Party wants. This is not conjecture. This is not just my impression. Actually, I have empirical data about what the Tea Party wants. By a margin of 52 percent to 29 percent, you want to know what the Tea Party want? They want government action to ensure millionaires don`t pay lower taxes than people who aren`t millionaires, otherwise known as the Buffett Rule, otherwise known as what President Obama has been proposing for the last few weeks. The Tea Party, self-identified Tea Party members, support that idea by a 33-point margin. Want to know what Republicans want right now? Again, I have empirical information about this, no need to conjecture. By a margin of 66 percent to 17 percent, by a 49-point margin, Republicans like Tea Partiers support government action to make sure millionaires don`t pay lower taxes than non- millionaires -- 66 percent of Republicans support the Buffett Rule idea. You want to know what independents want right now? They want to raise taxes on millionaires -- 65 percent of independents are for that, 28 percent oppose. That is a 37-point margin by which independents like the tax millionaires idea. Want to know what Americans overall support? By a margin of 81 percent to 17 percent, wow. Americans overall would support a surtax on millionaires -- 81 percent of Americans want that. The Beltway media has been denouncing President Obama`s economic populism saying an economic populist message doesn`t appeal to a broad swath of the country. Is there a broader swath of the country than 81 percent? Right now, opinion polling on everybody in Washington is horrible. But when you ask people who cares about protecting the middle class, when you ask people who in Washington cares about protecting the middle class, President Obama beats Republicans on that score by 20 points. When you ask people who do you trust more on jobs, President Obama beats the Republicans on that by 15 points. By a 16-point margin over those who would say no and by a raw majority, the country wants to pass President Obama`s jobs bill -- the jobs bill that would be financed by, drum roll please, taxing the rich, so that the rich don`t pay less than everyone else. Win which, again, is the most popular idea in America since someone first suggested a cold drink on a hot day. It is so popular today that Democrats started kicking around renaming this idea that rich people should pay -- should pay the same taxes as other people. Democrats today started kicking around the idea of renaming that whole idea -- the Romney Rule, because they think it`s that good for them, especially heading into an election year. This economic populist idea has so much support that Democrats are finally realizing that they could even use it to separate the vast majority of the American public who agree with this idea. From Republicans in Congress who don`t agree with it. The top Democrat in the Senate, Harry Reid, noted today while a huge majority of Republicans across the country support this idea, this Buffett Rule idea, the tax the rich idea, despite the fact that a huge majority of Republicans across the country support that idea, quote, "none of them are in the Senate." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: Their constituents, Democrats, Republicans and independents, and I`ve already said, even the Tea Party, believe that taxes should be just assessed on a fair basis. I would suggest that they`re really not keeping in touch with their constituents. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The protests going on right now not just in New York City but also in Los Angeles, also in Chicago, also in Seattle, also all over the country, for the most part, these "Occupy Wall Street" events do not look like mainstream voting day political events. Direct action is usually like that, especially at the beginning of direct action campaigns. But even if these events don`t necessarily look like mainstream events, their message that big business and the financial industry and the richest 1 percent of Americans have not just taken everything for themselves but ruined everything for the rest of the country and prevented anything from getting fixed, that message could not be more mainstream right now. Seriously. I mean, even the chairman of the Fed agrees with the "Occupy Wall Street" people. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BEN BERNANKE, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: I would say very generally I think people are quite unhappy with the state of the economy and what`s happening. They blame with some justification the problems in the financial sector for getting us into this mess. And they`re dissatisfied with the policy response here in Washington and I -- at some level, I can`t blame them. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: "Occupy Wall Street" endorsed by the chairman of the Fed. I think that means it`s mainstream. The "Occupy Wall Street" protests are just now settling in. And judging from the fact these are now popping up all over the country, judging from their plans to stick it out for the long haul, it`s worth noting that although these protests may not always look all that mainstream, thus attracting derision from mainstream media in a way people will be embarrassed about in the long run, though these things may not look mainstream and although it may look like a lot of kids right now, the message of these events is as mainstream as anything gets in American politics today. Joining us now is Democratic pollster Jeff Liszt. Jeff, thanks very much for being here tonight, helping us figure this out. Appreciate it. JEFF LISZT, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Thanks for having me. MADDOW: The idea of changing the tax structure so millionaires don`t pay less tax than other people bears out very, very, very, very, very well across the political spectrum. Does it translate into support for the Democrats who where proposing that idea? LISZT: It does. And I think that this is a quality fight because it`s the kind of fight that drives those numbers you were talking about earlier about who`s on the side of the middle class. Republicans say this is class warfare. But the middle class understands that they`ve been under siege for years. I mean, they just want to make sure that somebody else is sharing a little bit of the burden and the Republicans, you know, are putting themselves on the side of big corporations and the wealthy in part because that`s what they believe but also in part because they`ve got to cater to a subset of the subset of a Tea Party who shows up to vote in their primaries. MADDOW: In terms of that dynamic, about what elected politicians have to consider when they make their own decisions, the Republicans have long said that they are beholden to this angry conservative base in the form of the Tea Party that they have to respond to. They can`t be counted on to do rational things or moderate things they might have done previously because they have to answer to this loud, angry base. To the extent that has been really handy for Republicans to argue that on the right, does having a visible protest movement that`s really out to get Wall Street on the left, does that actually help Democrats position themselves in a way that might triangulate more nicely than their policies have thus far. LISZT: Well, I think it does. But I think it`s also important to remember that the Tea Party was animated at the beginning by anger toward Wall Street and bailouts. The anger against Wall Street is not, you know, a far left position. It`s an across the political spectrum position. I think that`s the problem with Republicans` positions. I mean, I think that when Mitt Romney says something like, corporations are people, I mean, that may be the only thing he`s saying right now that he actually believes. But it is an important tentative in Republican politics right now and I think it`s something that separates them not just the middle but from their own base. MADDOW: In terms of the "Occupy Wall Street" protest, there was a large march today in New York City as well as these encampments springing up around the country, people taking to this with some enthusiasm -- do you think as Democratic politicians and Democratic traditional interest groups ally themselves with that, is there any risk there? Does it open up the Republicans to being able to say, look at this rabble in the streets, that doesn`t look very mainstream, if you ally yourself with Democrats, or if you like Democratic policy, it`s those radicals that you`re siding with? Is that a risk for Democrats as well? LISZT: Well, I think it`s riskier for Republicans because every time they do that, they`re putting themselves on the side of Wall Street, they`re putting themselves on the big corporations and they`re putting themselves on the side of the wealthy. And I think it`s also important to note that even though 40 percent of the people, the plurality, don`t have any opinion of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, they get a slightly net favorable rating -- 33 percent favorable, 27 percent unfavorable, which makes them more popular than Republicans in Congress. MADDOW: Jeff Liszt, Democratic pollster and partner at Anzalone Liszt Research -- thanks for joining us tonight, Jeff. I always learn something when you`re here. Thanks a lot. LISZT: Thanks for having me. MADDOW: All right. First, Chris Christie, and now this -- the 2012 presidential race got its second and its third seismic jolts today. We`ve got details ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To attract new businesses to our shores, we need the fastest most reliable ways to move people, goods and information, from high speed rail to high speed Internet. (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: The high speed Internet part of that went from speech to reality in part through the Stimulus Act which set aside some money for expanding broadband access to parts of the country that don`t yet have that. This week in Missouri, construction is scheduled to begin on a $24 million project to bring high speed broadband access to rural Callaway County, which is not too far from the state capital but which doesn`t have broadband right now. Population of 44,000 people spread out over 850 square miles. Now, this is not a WPA project. This is not fiber optic linemen being hired directly by the federal government. The way this works is the money goes out in the form of grants and loans to local businesses and those local businesses, employees buy the cable and dig the trenches and lay the line and connect the homes. And when we do stuff in rural America, when the federal government wants something for rural America, it tends to do it through the Department of Agriculture, even when it doesn`t necessarily have anything specifically to do with agriculture because the Department of Agriculture is sort of historically the part of the government that has been tasked with dealing with America`s far flung places. The idea here behind spreading broadband to America`s rural areas is the same one behind the rural electrification program from the 1930s. The idea that even if it`s not profitable for private industry to extend the basics of modern economic life, electric light then and the Internet now, even if it`s never going to be profitable to some private company to extend those things to every last home down every long dirt road in America, it is worth it to America, worth it to us, that everybody has access to those things. That we`re all plugged in. It is the right kind of jobs investment for the country to put people to work laying those lines and connecting those Americans to the grid and it is the right things to do for the rural parts of the country so that people and businesses in every part of the country can compete economically. Joining us now for the interview tonight is our nation`s secretary of agriculture, also the former governor of Iowa, Tom Vilsack. Mr. Secretary, thanks for being here. TOM VILSACK, SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE: It`s great to be here. MADDOW: I did not know I would be talking to you about things like expanding broadband access on the day that Steve Jobs died. But his death has me thinking about the democratization of technology and how important it is economically to us as a country that everybody has access to computing power and to Internet power. VILSACK: You know, if you`re a farmer, you want to have access to that power so that you can make real time information available to you so you can make real time decisions about markets. A second here, second there, minute here, minute there, can actually make a difference between a good year and a difficult year. If you happen to be a small business owner, you can expand your opportunities not just in the local or regional market but you can now go global. If you got a niche product, you can actually sell it to the world. If you happen to be a schoolteacher in a rural school that may not be able to afford all the bells and whistles with the Internet, you basically have access to those bells and whistles. And if you`re in a small town hospital and have a patient that needs expert consultation, that patient can`t drive hundreds of miles for that consultation, broadband can bring that expert to the small town hospital. MADDOW: What do you make of the real politicization of infrastructure investment? The idea that if the government supports things like this, things like your agency is doing in terms of try to get broadband out to America`s far flung corners, that if the government does that, that will somehow encroach on economic growth, that will encroach on the private sector. VILSACK: The opposite. It allows for expansion of opportunity. It allows small businesses to expand their market. Allows them to figure out where the best deal is, make sure we have generations of learners from all parts of the country that are prepared for a very competitive future that they`re going to find themselves in. Look, our competition is going all of this right now. They`re building the infrastructure, both the brick and mortar infrastructure and the technology infrastructure. If we really want to compete -- if we want to maintain ourselves as the strongest nation on earth, we better make sure all of our citizens have access to this technology. MADDOW: With the president now trying to sell the American people on the jobs act, he`s doing a much better job selling that idea, particularly infrastructure investment to the public than he is selling it to Congress and part of the problem is that Democrats in Congress are not all allied with him. You`ve always been a centrist Democrat throughout your career. What do you make of -- what do you make of the fact that while Republicans have no problem unifying against the president, Democrats have a real problem in Congress unifying behind him -- even on something like this that the president has public support for? VILSACK: The president is absolutely right about this. This is going to put people to work immediately. It`s going to build the foundation for economic growth far into the future. You know, I think people are of course concerned about the costs. The president has identified ways of which that cost can be obtained without adding to the deficit. So, the people are right about this And it`s always a good idea in politics, at least in my experience, to listen to the folks who vote. They want this jobs act. They want the country to get back on the right track. The president has absolutely got the right prescription. The people know it. And frankly, I think the politicians do, too. And it`s time for this country to unite. It`s time for this country to focus on getting folks back to work. It`s time for them to focus on the important opportunities that we can create in rural America if we have access to good infrastructure. You know, if you`re a farmer, you want roads improved. You want the rail system improved because that`s going to get your grain to profit sooner. It`s going to be easier and more profitable to you. If you`re a small town teacher, not only do you want to save your jobs which the American Jobs Act will allow you to do, but you also want the opportunity for your children, your students, to have access to all the information that Steve Jobs and visionaries like Steve Jobs created through the Internet. MADDOW: Your home state of Iowa, obviously plays a pivotal role in the nominating process. And it`s always more interesting in Republican nominating years than in Democratic nominating years, because Iowa Democrats don`t behave all that differently than Democrats in the rest of the country. But Iowa Republicans really do and they sort of define, forgive me, a bit of a fringy part of the Republican Party. They -- the Ames poll supported Michele Bachmann, obviously, and they tend to prioritize social conservative issues in Republican voting in Iowa. Given that, and given the influence of Iowa right now, do you think it makes sense for Democrats to talk about values issues, heading into a national election year and the president`s re-election? Values issues including social issues, or do you think that talking about the economy is a way to speak to the moderates and the independents of Iowa that may not feel like they`re represented by that Republican caucus? VILSACK: Actually, I think you can do both at the same time. You can talk about putting people back to work and you honor the value of work. You can talk about making sure that veterans have an opportunity which the president wants with the American Jobs Act, getting them an opportunity to have a job when they come back. That values their service to country. You can talk about values and you can talk about them in terms of what`s on the minds of most people today, which is making sure people get back to work, get this economy headed in the right direction and making sure that it works for everybody, not just a select few, but everybody. We got to rebuild the middle class in this country. It`s the middle class that sort of distinguished this country from all other countries and it`s time we pay some attention to these folks. And a lot of those folks are located in the small towns and rural areas that I care deeply about in my job. MADDOW: Secretary of agriculture, former governor of Iowa, Tom Vilsack, you and I have managed to find each other to talk and had conversations a lot over the last few years. I`m really grateful for that. I`ve always really enjoy talking to you, sir. VILSACK: Well, I consider -- I`m privilege to be on your show tonight. MADDOW: Thanks. Nice to see you, Mr. Secretary. Thank you. All right. If there`s one man who loves a good protest, it`s my colleague and friend, Ed Schultz. And Ed Schultz is going to be broadcasting live from the "Occupy Wall Street" site downtown right after this show. Do not miss Ed in his element tonight. And here, I`ve got big game changing 2012 election news. Odds makers, your presidential rundown has changed. That`s coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Today ended up being the busiest news day in a long while. Not in terms of one giant story extinguishing all coverage, but in terms of the number of newsworthy things that have happened. Of course, the sad news breaking late tonight that Apple`s Steve Jobs has died at the age of 56. We will be returning to that story in just a few minutes with a look back at some of what Steve Jobs left as his legacy. In a totally different part of the news universe, we also learned late today that after years of speculate and years of stoking that speculation, the Republican Party`s last nominee for vice president, the polarizing and charismatic former Alaska governor, Sarah Palin, will not seek the Republican nomination for president this year. We will have more on that story in just a moment. But a little bit lost among those late breaking and important stories today was another late breaking political story that on a different day would probably be leading most of cable news tonight. The man who many if not most observers believe to be the front-runner for the Republican Party`s vice presidential nomination this year announced today he will not do it. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida told reporters today if he`s asked to be somebody`s running mate this year, that he said, quote, "That answer is probably going to be no" -- immediately realizing that that probably was leaving enough wiggle room for an ocean liner full of Beltway media to sail through, Senator Rubio then doubled back and said it again but dropped the probably. He went instead with "the answer`s going to be no." If Marco Rubio does not want to be the Republican Party`s vice presidential nominee, that probably puts New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as the Republican Party`s big prize behind door number two now instead of behind door number one. We`ll have more ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Today, the campaign to defeat Barack Obama became the campaign to defeat Mitt Romney. Seriously, we got this e-mail at the show today from, as you can see here, from somebody named Lloyd Marcus at the Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama. And what the Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama is sending around is this -- their "stop Mitt Romney" message. They also produced a liberal Mitt`s greatest hits -- anti-Mitt Romney video that they`re circulating along with their requests for money. This appears to mostly just be a money-making thing, if you attended a Tea Party protest in the last couple of years and had the misfortune of enthusiasm to put your name and e-mail address on something at that event, you`ve probably been getting spammed from groups like this trying to monetize Tea Party enthusiasm to turn into fund-raising. That`s pretty much what this official-sounding but not at all official Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama has been. As you can see here, they`ve got have a very slick donation page. But now, they have figured out the best way for them to keep raising money off Tea Party suckers -- I mean enthusiasts -- is not to keep harping on and on and on and on about Barack Obama. Despite the name of their organization, they`re going to go after a target the Tea Partiers hate more than Barack Obama. They`re going to go after the likely Republican nominee for president, Mitt Romney. Send your check today -- $25, $50, $100, $1,000 or more. Here`s my question. Now that former vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, has said she will not be running for president, specifically she said today, "After much prayer and serious consideration, I have decided that I will not be seeking the 2012 GOP nomination for president of the United States." Now that Sarah Palin has declared herself not in the running, where does all the Tea Party animosity, the Republican conservative base animosity toward him, toward Mitt Romney, where does that all get channeled? Where does it all go? As I discussed earlier with pollster Jeff Liszt, it has been strategically convenient for Republicans in Washington to proclaim how beholden their party is to Tea Party interests. That`s a Republican and Beltway media line, right? Republicans in D.C. would love to be reasonable. They`d love to support things they have always supported. They would love to sit down together, brother, and reason. But they just can`t, the Tea Party won`t let them. The Tea Party will have their head if they do that. Because the Republican establishment and Republican elected officials are powerless before the power of the Tea Party, we must all pay lots of attention to the Tea Party and excuse the Republicans their radicalism. How are we supposed to simultaneously believe that and believe that Mitt Romney is going to be the Republican Party`s nominee? The "stop Mitt Romney" e-mail people founded and funded by the same people who do the Tea Party express, the big vinyl-wrapped Tea Party buses that FOX News spent so much time promoting these last couple of years and that, incredibly, CNN co-hosted a presidential debate with. Those are the stop Mitt Romney e-mail people. We are supposed to take them seriously enough they get to co-host presidential debates with CNN but not seriously enough to care about their full-on, fire-breathing, no Mitt Romney, never campaign. The Dick Armey corporate-funded Tea Party group, FreedomWorks group, they say the Republican Party will have to pry a Mitt Romney nomination out of their cold, dead hands. Joe Miller, who beat incumbent Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski in the Alaska Republican primary, only to lose to her as a write-in the general election, Joe Miller is working with a conservative Tea Party PAC whose mission in life is to keep Mitt Romney from being the Republican Party`s nominee. Why are we supposed to take the influence of these groups on the Republican Party so seriously? Why are we supposed to believe that the Tea Party is the controlling factor in Tea Party politics now, except in the case of their multiple, committed, energized campaigns to stop Mitt Romney? These guys don`t seem to like Rick Perry all that much. And we know as of today, they won`t have the chance to select Sarah Palin. So, where do they go? And how long before we start hearing serious noises from the right, that if Republicans do select Mitt Romney as their nominee, he`s going to get a third party challenge from the right. If that`s not possible, then I`m done hearing about intractability, power and influence of the Tea Party, thank you very much. If that does happen, anybody else think that Sarah Palin`s statement maybe left some room for her to run, not from the GOP, but from a third party? (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Apple`s Steve Jobs who died today at 56, invented an astounding number of things. "New York Times" today counted up the patents under Steve Jobs` name -- 313 of them. CEOs usually leave the patent stuff for the creative types, for the people who work for the CEOs. But no, Steve Jobs` name is on the patents for those vertiginous glass staircases that they have in the Apple stores. His name is on the patent for the stairs? Steve Jobs` name is on the patent for a computer enclosure. This computer enclosure, the box that holds the miracle of computing inside. His name is on a cursor control device, otherwise known as the computer mouse. It`s on specific types of Macintosh adapter plugs. And, of course, it`s on the iPod with its click wheel that now seems like something you`d find on the prairie now that we have all moved on to swiping the touch screens. With all the other people who are busy creating and recreating America, the news of his death today, Steve Jobs was hailed as frankly another Thomas Edison, another American inventor who came along and turned on the lights. Here again, Steve Jobs, speaking at Stanford University`s commencement in 2005. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JOBS: I was lucky -- I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents` garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years, Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4,000 employees. We had just released our finest creation -- the Macintosh -- a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually, we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. And so at 30, I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating. But something slowly began to dawn on me -- I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so, I decided to start over. I didn`t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don`t lose faith. I`m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You`ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven`t found it yet, keep looking. Don`t settle. When I was young, there was an amazing publication called "The Whole Earth Catalog," which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and Polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along -- it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions. Stewart and his team put out several issues of "The Whole Earth Catalog," and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. Thank you all very much. (END VIDEOTAPE) MADDOW: Apple`s Steve Jobs, dead today at the age of 56, a man who shortened profoundly the distance between people and the power of technology. That does it for us tonight. Now, it`s time for "THE ED SHOW." Good night. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END