IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 10/10/11

Guests: Gilbert Ortiz, Alan Grayson

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, "THE LAST WORD": You`re going to have "THE LAST WORD" online at our blog, You can follow my tweets @Lawrence. 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 the next hour. This is Russell Pearce. Russell Pearce is a Republican and a Tea Party favorite. He`s president of the state Senate in the great state of Arizona. Russell Pearce made a national name for himself last year by pushing through Arizona`s "papers please" law. Remember SB-1070? At the time the most draconian anti-immigration law in the country before Alabama got ahold of the issue. A federal judge has blocked Arizona from enforcing major parts of "papers please." But in the meantime, Arizona voters, angry or grossed out by the whole SB-1070 ordeal started a recall campaign against Russel Pearce. The recall campaign says Pearce has demonstrated, quote, "overt disdain for the United States Constitution." They put his petition out there and they put Russell Pearce up for a vote. Now, through no fault of the Arizona recallers, they are watching a cautionary tale unfold about the way we make decisions these days in our little democracy. Here`s how it goes. Ready? The candidate who`s trying to unseat Russell Pearce is in fact a fellow Republican, this guy here. He`s a totally mainstream local Republican from the district who was urged into the race by other local Republicans who were embarrassed by Russell Pearce. He says he accepted the challenge after a period of prayer and fasting. His biggest asset in the race is of course that he is not Russell Pearce. Russell Pearce seems to have decided he maybe couldn`t win that way, if it was just him against this other regular guy, mainstream Republican from the district. So, it appears that Russell Pearce and/or his supporters have concocted a scheme, a scheme to run a fake candidate to confuse voters, to sheer off votes from the mainstream Republican running against Mr. Pearce. The idea is to bamboozle voters into splitting the anti-Russell Pearce vote between two candidates so Russell Pearce ends up holding on to his seat. The head of a local Tea Party group which supports Russell Pearce became the campaign manager. Not for Russell Pearce, not for his opponent obviously, but for this third candidate who they found. She is a local woman with no political history or experience at all. She`s a naturalized citizen from Mexico. Russell Pearce`s brother, his name is Lester, is a justice of the peace locally. He`s therefore not supposed to get involved with any campaigning at all. But Brother Lester went out campaigning anyway with his daughters, with Russell Pearce`s nieces to collect signatures. They were not campaigning for Russell Pearce. They were campaigning for this third candidate they found, Olivia Cortes, to get her on the ballot. In addition to that remarkably charitable effort by the Russell Pearce family, the mysterious Cortes campaign also somehow found itself with enough money, enough funding to pay professional signature gatherers to go out alongside Russell Pearce`s nieces in order to get Olivia Cortes on the ballot. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was told that if people were supporters of Mr. Pearce, to tell them go ahead and sign this, that this will help his chances. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the idea was to dilute or divert the vote? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By running a diversionary or a sham candidate that that might run a file of Arizona`s election laws? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had no idea. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: I had no idea, she says. No idea there could be serious legal consequences in this scheme to save Russell Pearce from being recalled, by saving Russell Pearce from running a clear election against somebody who wants to recall him. The circumstances of the Russell Pearce recall race were strange enough that a Maricopa County judge began holding hearings into whether or not this Olivia Cortes had been put up for a sham candidacy -- whether this was, in fact, just a Tea Party Republican pro-Russell Pearce dirty trick in this Arizona election. On Thursday, facing the possibility that Senator Pearce`s family would be compelled to testify in this case, Olivia Cortes suddenly dropped out of the race. She dropped out. But you know what? As far as dirty tricks go, mission accomplished. Because when voters in that Russell Pearce district go to the polls on November 8th, the name Olivia Cortes will still be on that ballot. The ballots are already printed. Her name will be alongside the name of the mainstream Republican who really is running and alongside the name Russell Pearce. So, three names in what is now a two-person race. Two people who aren`t Russell Pearce conveniently splitting the vote against him. So, that`s what it looks like in Arizona now, which is frankly a nice reminder both that people are fighting back against some of the extremes of the last couple years in state politics but also a good reminder of how Republicans roll these days, what partisan politics looks like right now around elections this year and next. Consider also Ohio where Republicans jammed a union stripping bill through the legislature in March. Why attack union rights? Well, for all attacking unions does to undermine the middle class directly and lower everyone`s wages and living standards directly, attacking unions also has the nice partisan side effect of attacking the Democratic Party`s largest institutional base of support. Ohio`s blog of mass destruction recently posted this e-mail from a local Ohio Tea Party leader. Quote, "Let me be clear, for the Tea Party/Patriot movement, our number one goal is to defund the union leadership and thus their exclusive partners in the Democratic Party and take back control of our government." "If SB-5 is upheld," the e-mail continues, "the Democrats will not have the money to compete in Ohio next year. Barack Obama and Sherrod Brown will lose Ohio and be thrown out of office in 2012." Our number one goal is to defund the union leadership and thus the Democratic Party, defeat Obama, defeat Sherrod Brown. The intent is not to level the playing field in other words but tilt it permanently, to make it so conservatives causes win and progressive ones lose, not just this year, not just next year, but for years after that -- to use public policy to give Republicans an advantage in elections. Here`s the thing, though. Ohio has been fighting back against this. In June, Ohioans delivered enough signatures several times over to force a recall of Ohio`s union stripping bill. The bill is not in effect because the recall effort is under way. It will be on the ballot for recall -- just like Russell Pearce in Arizona, it will be on the ballot for recall on November 8th of this year. And speaking of permanently playing field tilting, Ohio Republicans also went after early voting this year, joining a majority of other Republican legislatures this year who have voted to make it harder in one way or another to vote. Early voting, of course, was used disproportionately in 2008 by African-Americans who quite disproportionately voted for Barack Obama and other Democrats so magically, naturally, early voting has to go away before we get to the next election in 2012. And in June, Ohio Republicans did pass a law that shrinks Ohio`s early voting calendar by more than half. Last month, Ohioans again fought back, delivering more than enough signatures to put that voting crimping law on hold, to put it up for a repeal next year in 2012. Ohio has been fighting back all year against Republican attempts to tilt the playing field. Also in Maine, Republicans passed a law to end that state`s tradition of being able to register on the same day that you vote. That has been the law in Maine for decades, but Republicans undid it this year. Maine fought back, though, and got enough signatures to force a citizens` repeal of that law on this November`s ballot. In Tennessee where you may remember our story about 96-year-old Dorothy Cooper suddenly finding it hard to vote after Republicans in Tennessee passed a bill that says you can`t vote unless you show an ID that hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans don`t have. In Tennessee, the story of Dorothy Cooper is not just an infuriating story anymore. Now, it is a rallying cry the state Democratic Party trying to rally voters against how much harder Tennessee Republicans have just made it to vote there. And Tennesseans launching a new effort like Ohio, like Maine, like Arizona, to get this thing on to the ballot for a citizens` recall. People are fighting back. These are state by state laws, but, of course, the cumulative effect is national and pretty obviously intentional -- to structurally tilt the playing field so state laws about elections make it harder for likely Democrats to vote, and therefore more likely for Republican candidates to win -- in the next election and every election after. As such, the Democrats Senate Campaign Committee nationally announced at the national level, the DSCC will be fighting back. They`re asking for help from the Justice Department in protecting voting rights state by state. They also say they`ll be making a renewed push to register voters and to mount get out the vote efforts in the states that have been targeted by Republicans changing the laws. And maybe that could help. Maybe it will. I think the attention to this issue certainly helps if only because it makes people who these laws are designed to discourage from voting, it makes those folks know somebody is trying to keep them from the voting booth which can have a motivating effect on the need to vote on Election Day. But this kind of coordinated, sustained national assault on voting isn`t an esoteric thing. It isn`t an idea. It isn`t a plan. It is happening. It is concrete and nuts and bolts and hard to counteract. Fighting for these kinds of rights, fighting back is about how we decide things in America. It is at the level of sinew and bone. This is a structural thing. This is deep and national. And sometimes, it comes down to decisions that are very, very, very individual and very local. We`ve been bringing you the story of two county clerks in Colorado -- where the new Republican secretary of state has ordered the counties not to send ballots to voters who would usually expect to get them. In Denver, the voters happen to live in heavily Hispanic neighborhoods -- anybody who hadn`t voted since the election in 2010 or re- upped their registration, no ballot for you. In Pueblo County, the voters happened to be also U.S. troops overseas who would usually get sent a ballot. But the Republican secretary of state in Colorado said he wanted left out of the ballot mailings this year. On Friday, a judge ruled against the Republican secretary of state in Colorado. In a hearing on a Denver case, he ruled the Denver`s ballots could get mailed out to the disproportionately Hispanic voters. And as we reported exclusively on Friday night, in Pueblo County, the clerk there heard the verdict, he was in the courtroom. He heard the judge`s verdict and without waiting for more details, he got on to the phone to his office and told them to send out those ballots to those troops. Send out the military ballots. This is what fighting back sometimes looks like. Right? It is a national fight. There`s obviously a national plan at work here. But sometimes stopping this stuff, sometimes standing up to this stuff comes down to one person, one official doing what he or she believes is the right thing to do and doing it right away. Joining us now is Gilbert Ortiz. He`s the Pueblo County clerk and recorder who earlier this month was ordered by the Colorado secretary of state not to send ballots to military personnel overseas. He joins us live from Colorado. Mr. Ortiz, thank you for making time to join us tonight GILBERT ORTIZ, PUEBLO COUNTY CLERK AND RECORDER: Thank you. MADDOW: Last week, moments after the court ruling, I know our office spoke with you and we learned that you had sent those ballots out to troops overseas. Was that a hard decision for you to make? Did you know you would do that when that verdict came down that night? ORTIZ: I knew exactly I would do that. It was my intention since the beginning of this whole process to send those ballots out to military overseas voters. And so, it was an exciting moment for me and my staff and I made that call as soon as I was able to. MADDOW: We have been looking at this issue of voting rights in terms of its effect on electoral politics, literally on elections. In your role as county clerk, how do you see this? Do you feel like this is unfolding in a partisan manner? Is this a technocratic issue to you? How do you see these changes the secretary of state has been trying to put in place in Colorado this year? ORTIZ: You know, in Pueblo County, I really concentrate on our own voters. And it`s always been my intent as an election official to send ballots out to everybody that`s registered and to make the voting process available to them. And it`s something that I`m passionate about and I think all clerks in Colorado are passionate about. And, you know, we`re not into -- we`re not paying attention so much to the political side or the reasons behind it. We just know that we want to send ballots to registered voters in Colorado counties. MADDOW: Mr. Ortiz, have you in your capacity as clerk and recorder in Pueblo County, have you ever had to deal with a problem of voter fraud, of voter impersonation fraud or any kind of voter fraud by troops serving overseas? ORTIZ: It`s never happened. I can`t imagine that it would happen. Here our troops are overseas and they deserve a ballot. They`re out there defending democracy for all of us and the least we can do as election officials is to send them a ballot and make them part of the process. MADDOW: In terms of -- I hear what you say, sir, about not focusing on the politics of this. Your job is to run the elections, not to make sure they go any particular way. But I wonder since you`ve been involved in this, what`s turning out to be a real fight in Colorado, real difference of opinion here, and being fought out in court and other places. Do you feel like you have the support of the people who you serve? The support of Pueblo County in your stand to try to get ballots out to the people of the county in as guess as quick and seamless way as possible? ORTIZ: I do. You know, we made intergovernmental agreements with all our participating entities early on in the process. They all agreed in the contract to send ballots out to inactive voters. You know, just walking around Pueblo County recently and in the grocery store with my family, I`ve gotten a lot of support, a lot of pats on the back for what we`re doing. I`ve gotten a lot of phone calls nationally from veterans groups and from veterans, themselves, thanking me for continuing to fight for their right to vote. So, it`s been great. It`s been very difficult to deal with this every day. I`m used to dealing with just ballots and elections. And the political spotlight is a little difficult, but I`m excited for what we`ve done and the fight that we`ve brought. MADDOW: Gilbert Ortiz, Pueblo County, Colorado, clerk and recorder -- thank you for your time tonight, sir. I know this fight is not over in Pueblo County and in Colorado. We`d love to stay in touch with you as this all progresses. ORTIZ: I`d love that, Rachel. Thank you. MADDOW: Thanks very much. All right. Melissa Harris-Perry joins us next. Please stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, I was able to pull aside here just for a few moments Dr. Robert Jeffress. He is pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas. He also gave a speech introducing Governor Rick Perry earlier this afternoon. And if you don`t mind me saying Pastor Jeffress, you created a stir coming out of that speech because in talking to reporters, you said in strong, plain language what you think of Mormonism. You described it as a cult. And you said that if Republican votes for Mitt Romney, they`re giving some credibility to a cult. Do you stand by that comment? ROBERT JEFFRESS, PASTOR: Absolutely. And that`s not some fanatical comment. That`s been historic the historic position of evangelical Christianity. The Southern Baptist Convention, which is the largest Protestant denomination in the world, has officially labeled Mormonism as a cult. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: When a front-runner for the Republican nomination for president gets caught in a fundamentalist bigotry eddy like this, the expressed understanding in the Beltway media is not that there`s been any real display of religious bigotry in the Republican Party or among the conservative movement, but rather that mainstream Republicans like Mitt Romney and like Speaker of the House John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, these guys have just had an unfortunate brush-up against the very fringy far right extreme, no representative part of the American conservative movement, which the presumed mainstreamers just make a big show of being nice to even though we all know they have no real influence in what they think, doesn`t really mean anything. That`s your basic Beltway media narrative about something like this weekend`s Values Voters Summit. Here`s what`s missing from that analysis. The values voter thing is not a fringe event. If it ever was, it isn`t anymore. I mean, substantively, of course, it`s a fringe event. It`s like the Flat Earth Society, but it`s not fringe within the conservative movement and Republican Party politics. Mitt Romney has gone to the Values Voters Summit for six years in a row now. Every major Republican presidential candidate except for Jon Huntsman -- is he still considered major -- spoke at the Values Voter Summit this weekend. And it`s not just the candidates looking for votes. It`s also the House Republican leadership, the congressional leadership of the Republican Party which supposedly represents the mainstream of the party and should not be tarred by the extreme views of the fringe of the conservative movement. But here`s House Majority Leader Eric Cantor speaking at the Values Voters Summit. Here`s Speaker of the House John Boehner speaking at the Values Voters Summit. Here`s who they shared the stage with at the Values Voter Summit. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe we need a president that understands just as Islam represents the greatest long range threat to our liberty, so the homosexual agenda represents immediate threat to every freedom. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Woo! Woo! When all the Republican presidential candidates in the Republican congressional leadership do big national televised events like this, why is there this gentleman`s understanding, right, with the Beltway media that Republicans who speak at the things shouldn`t be viewed as sharing the event`s agenda? They know what they`re getting into. Why do we make excuses for things like this? I mean, in the weeks leading up to the number one and number two Republicans in the House speaking at the Values Voters Summit thing, look at how they behaved. Republicans in the House announced they would move forward with yet another effort to eliminate all insurance coverage for abortion anywhere in the country. They tried to do this during the health reform debate. They tried to hijack health care reform to effectively ban abortion for women who could not afford it without insurance. And since they didn`t get what they wanted, they didn`t at least get enough of what they wanted at that time, Republicans in the House have started going after that again. They`ve also started a new witch hunt, going after Planned Parenthood, demanding documentation from Planned Parenthoods nationwide going back 20 years, documentation of patient referrals, of funding, and what they call improper billing. But the big values voters speech on his calendar, Speaker of the House John Boehner just announced plans to triple the amount of money the House is spending to defend the anti-gay Clinton era Defense of Marriage Act in court. Thanks to John Boehner, you the taxpayer have a $500 an hour lawyer making that case on your behalf, to hold on to the Defense of Marriage Act. His expenses were not supposed to exceed a half million dollars, this lawyer, but he`s now cleared for $1.5 million of your dollars. And if the point isn`t clear enough, the House Republican chairman of the armed services committee told C-Span on Friday that he will block all funding for the Pentagon unless it also comes with a new anti-gay marriage law. The Pentagon will not be funded now according to House Republicans unless they get their way against gay marriage. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this issue for you worth not having a defense authorization bill? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Yes. No matter how much Republicans prioritize abortion at the state level and at the federal level again and again and again; no matter how much Republicans prioritize gay rights at the state level and at the federal level, again and again and again; no matter how many Republicans get their Jerry Falwell on and focus again and again and again on these social issues and these rights issues -- the Beltway media insists they`re focused like a laser on jobs, jobs, jobs. Also on jobs. And also jobs. I do not know why the Beltway media excuses what the Republicans are doing in favor of the Republicans favored mainstream narrative about what they`re doing. Why don`t we look at what they do instead of what they`re saying they do? I realize I`m aiming too high. Let me close with one case study. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney told former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee on FOX News recently that he, Mitt Romney, would support a constitutional amendment to define life as beginning at conception. Mitt Romney said, yes, he would support such a constitutional amendment. Look, I can prove it to you. Watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MIKE HUCKABEE, FOX NEWS: Would you have support of the constitutional amendment that would have established the definition of life at conception? MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Absolutely. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Absolutely. This is a personhood amendment, the Huckabee is talking about. Personhood amendments are broadly understood not just to ban abortion outright but also to ban many common forms of birth control, including the pill. That`s what their proponents intend and it is seen as a likely impact of this thing that Mitt Romney just said he supports. Wow! The Republican front-runner for the presidential nomination wants to ban the pill. I have a follow-up question. I mean, not a single Beltway reporter has asked him a follow-up question about this. As to whether or not he really understood what he was saying yes to. Did you really mean it, sir? You really want to ban the pill, Mitt Romney? Can you explain? Can somebody please ask Mitt Romney a follow-up question on that? Or do we believe him that he`s laser focused on jobs, jobs, jobs? We here at THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW cannot get a call back from the Romney campaign when we asked him the follow-up question. Can somebody who can get Mitt Romney`s people on the phone, please ask him that? Give me like mid pancake flip in New Hampshire. Just ask him. Anyone, please? Joining us now is Melissa Harris-Perry, professor of political science at Tulane University and MSNBC contributor. Melissa, thanks for your time tonight. MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely. MADDOW: Is there as much as a disconnect as I am frustrated about between how much Republicans really are focusing on social issues and the coverage of them as if they are not focused on social issues at all? HARRIS-PERRY: Well, for me the most frustrating part is the disconnect between the extent to which the Republican potential nominees for the GOP presidential, you know, run here, are focused on social issues when the polling tells us that ordinary Americans are fundamentally focused on issues of the economy, sometimes the deficit shows up, unemployment, every once in a while you`ll get a blip, for example, post-9/11 around questions of national security and terrorism. I mean, you know, I think we can make lots of claims about how our media, whether it`s Beltway media or, you know, supposedly ideological media or Twitter or any of our media sources are sort of focused on a variety of different ways of thinking about the political arena. But the big disconnect is between what people are identifying as the major problems facing America at this moment and what these candidates are talking about and the basis on which they`re being chosen as front-runners. MADDOW: The issue internally within the Republican Party used to be how much mainstream Republicans could sort of flirt with the fringier elements of the social conservative movement, the evangelical movement, not part of the conservative movement while maintaining general election electability. That having to walk that line becomes a lot easier if they`re not reported as doing that flirting. And so, as we see the real -- I mean, the Bryan Fischers of the real, the real fringe of the movement essentially become mainstream figures in Republican politics, is there not a cost to be paid for that in the long run? HARRIS-PERRY: There is. You know, interestingly enough, that transition of a relatively well-organized but undoubtedly small minority within a kind of big party like the GOP is, suddenly becoming central to deciding who the Republicans will actually put up as a presidential candidate, someone who`s going to have to appeal across a broad range. That`s actually exactly what much of the American left has been trying to figure out, how to do in the Democratic Party, right? How do we get sort of a set of questions or issues on the agenda that can be hammered home over and over again, the Democratic presidential candidates in a way that would force them to have the sort of progressive agenda at the same time that they were running for president of the United States? And the fact is that much of the left has been unable to do that. But on the right, over the course of the past 25 years, they`ve been incredibly effective at moving to the center of that party and particularly to the center of the nominating process, so that over and over again even in supposedly mainstream debates, not just at these Value Voters Summits, we hear them answering questions about how much you`re willing to restrict reproductive rights, just how -- just how pro-life are you? It`s no longer even a question of whether or not choice is even a possibility for Republican candidates, for example. MADDOW: Melissa Harris-Perry, Tulane politics professor and MSNBC contributor -- Melissa, thank you for helping us understand this. I appreciate it. HARRIS-PERRY: Absolutely. MADDOW: You may remember former Florida Congressman Alan Grayson from appearances like this on the floor of the House of Representatives. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ALAN GRAYSON (D), FORMER FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN: Here it is. The Republicans` health care plan for America: don`t get sick. That`s right. Don`t get sick. If you have insurance, don`t get sick. If you don`t have insurance, don`t get sick. If you`re sick, don`t get sick. Just don`t get sick. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Alan Grayson is not Congressman Alan Grayson anymore. But his words about the "Occupy Wall Street" protests been clear and pointed and from what I hear from a lot of people - motivating Alan Grayson is our guest tonight on the subject of the growing movement and the right wing`s tin ear for it. Stay tuned. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin found himself nationally famous earlier this year when he picked a fight with union rights in Wisconsin. After campaigning for office on a different set of issues, he and the Republicans in the state legislature decided to go after union rights. In Wisconsin, a state where a lot of America`s union rights were born, did not react well to this -- you may recall. The first electoral consequence for the Republicans was a round of recall elections in August. In which two Republican senators were sent packing and the Republican majority in the Senate was cut down to just one seat. Tonight on "THE ED SHOW" here on MSNBC, the second electoral consequence for Governor Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Republicans will be unveiled. A recall election campaign against Scott Walker, himself. If we did not know if before, we learned this year Wisconsinites, like the Badgers they are, can be a force to be reckoned with when they get threatened. Details for Republican Governor Scott Walker`s career ahead tonight on "THE ED SHOW" -- which is right after this show. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Here`s one thing most people probably do not know about New York City. New York City has a gondola, Swiss Alps-style. Yes, New York is a densely populated city. The only way to get around on a daily basis is by riding a subway, or taking a bus or a hailing cab. But there is another way. Gondola. Look at that. Gondola. So awesome. It just sails right over the cars and the cabs and overpasses and everything. It`s real. The reason I mention this gondola actually living in New York City, even though most people don`t know it, has to do with the "Occupy Wall Street" protests -- the "Occupy Wall Street" protests in New York that have just entered their fourth week. The protests gained enough national traction that individual Republican candidates for president are now being asked about the protests as they campaign across the country. Here for instance is Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney denouncing the "Occupy Wall Street" protests earlier today at a campaign stop in New Hampshire. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: I think the idea of dividing our nation at a time of crisis is the wrong way to go. All the streets are connected. Wall Street`s connected to Main Street. And so finding a scapegoat, finding someone to blame in my opinion isn`t right way to go. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: All the streets are connected. Wall Street connected to Main Street. You know, that is actually a checkable thing. And if you check it, it turns out not to be true. Here`s a map of Manhattan. There`s Wall Street at the very bottom of Manhattan over there on the left. And there is a Main Street in New York City. It is all the way over there sort of on the center right there. It turns out they are not at all connected. In fact, they are separated by a body of water. Main Street in New York City is located on Roosevelt Island which is a lovely but tiny island in the East River. So if you want to go from Main Street to Wall Street in New York City, they are not connected. You got to use the gondola. OK? I mean, technically the Tramway I guess they call it which connects Roosevelt Island to Manhattan and thus connects Main Street to Wall Street. Sorry, Mitt Romney, work on the metaphor. They are not connected. Except by a vaguely Swiss seeming thing you probably don`t want to talk about. The Republican presidential front-runner having to come up with an attempted snappy rejoinder to your protest, failing but attempting to come up with that rejoinder, that is actually for the protesters a pretty sure sign that their protest movement is catching on. Another sign: accelerated media coverage of the cause. Not media coverage of the organization necessarily or specific protesters but of the cause that the protest is against. For example, in the month before the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, there were, to our count, 164 mentions of the phrase corporate greed in the news. One month, 164 mentions. In the month since the "Occupy Wall Street" movement has been under way, 1,801 mentions of that same phrase: corporate greed in the news. Here`s another sign that your movement may be gaining some momentum. Your protest which is narrowly focused at first to one specific geographic location, in this case, Wall Street, your protest begins to spread fast, well beyond that initial location. Today, NBC News got video in of "Occupy Wall Street`s" spinoff protests being held in Boston, in Atlanta, in Washington, D.C., in Columbus, Ohio, in Des Moines, Iowa, all today. And that`s just what we got tape of. Over the weekend, we got video in of occupy protests being held in Portland, Oregon, and in Knoxville, Tennessee, and in Chicago and in Indianapolis and in Cincinnati and in Philadelphia and in Sacramento and in San Francisco. Today, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the protesters who have camped out on actual Wall Street in New York City will be allowed to stay there indefinitely. Officials in Washington, D.C., giving protesters there permission to stay for at least four more months. But perhaps the best sign that your protest movement is catching on would be this one right here. Dead end saboteurs showing up from the right to try to take the whole thing out of context and make it look like something that it`s not. Tape here of right wing activists James O`Keefe. Remember him from the ACORN/fake pimp thing, the Shirley Sherrod thing? Wandering around occupy Wall Street today presumably in his attempt to make the protest looks like it has something to do with hookers or that it implies something scary about black people. Yes, not sure what the scary black people or scary hooker line will be yet. We`ll have to wait for the grossly, malignly edited tape. A conservative writer with "The American Spectator" magazine acknowledging today, too, that he infiltrated the Occupy D.C. protests, provoking a pepper spray confrontation with a security guard at a national museum, specifically provoking the pepper spray incident as a provocateur. Occupy Wall Street has officially engendered a full scale right wing freak-out from the people on the right who have made themselves responsible for defending the specific policies that are now being protested against -- people who have been advancing and defending policies that advance the interests of the richest 1 percent of people in the country. Those folks are now in full panic mode. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER: I for one an increasingly concerned about the growing mobs occupying Wall Street and the other cities across the country. REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: Sowing class envy and social unrest is not what we do in America. DAVID GREGORY, NBC NEWS: You think that`s what the president is doing? RYAN: I think president is doing that. I think he`s preying on the emotions of fear, envy and anger, and that is not constructive to unifying America. HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My parents, they never played the victim card. My parents never said, we hope the rich people can lose something so we can get something. I don`t have patience for people who want to protest the success of somebody else. GLENN BECK: Capitalists, if you think that you can play footsies with these people, you`re wrong. They will come for you and drag you into the streets and kill you. They will do it. They`re not messing around. Those in the media -- and I say this, I am included in this -- they will drag us out into the streets and kill us. If you`re wealthy, they will kill you for what you have. (END VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: You know, Glenn Beck still exists. That was apparently him on his radio show today. They`re coming to kill you! After the -- never mind. I`m not even going to get into the mind of Glenn Beck. Never mind. The right is going to try to make this movement seem super scary, right? They don`t even need Glenn Beck. But Glenn Beck helps. And people can be scared by protests in general, absolutely. You can use that to scare people, particularly if police continue to use brutal tactics against the protesters. That, itself, can make the protesters seem scary. Counter-intuitively, if police are beating people up and using pepper spray on people, it can make those people who the police are abusing seem like scary people. We`ve seen this before in the past. But the idea here, the message the protests are promoting is not only a simple one to say, it is a simple one to understand. Case in point, Friday night`s Bill Maher show on HBO experienced what was apparently, at least anecdotally reported to be the first ever standing ovation given to a comment by a guest on that show. On stage with Bill Maher was former Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida, former George W. Bush communications director Nicolle Wallace, who you`ve seen on this show, and on the right, a conservative writer and satirist named P.J. O`Rourke. After Congressman Grayson gave a rather eloquent description of the problems raised by "Occupy Wall Street," the critique they`ve been raising, things like Wall Street`s financial grip over both political parties and what hasn`t happened since the financial crisis caused by Wall Street in 2008, P.J. O`Rourke tried not so much to denounce the movement as a whole but rather to just mock it. And Congressman Grayson mercilessly, it was a move that did not end well for P.J. O`Rourke and ended very well for Congressman Alan Grayson. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) P.J. O`ROURKE, SATIRIST: Get the man a bongo drum. They found their spokesman. GRAYSON: Well, if I -- O`ROURKE: Take your shoes off, get a bongo drum, forget where to go to the bathroom and it`s yours. GRAYSON: Listen, if I am a spokesman for all the people who think we should not have 24 million people in this country who can`t find a full- time job, that we should not have 50 million people in this country who can`t see a doctor when they`re sick, that we shouldn`t have 47 million people in this country who need government help in order to feed themselves and shouldn`t have 15 million families who owe more on their mortgage than the value of their home -- OK, I`ll be that spokesman. (CHEERS) BILL MAHER, TV HOST: Oh, look, they`re standing in the audience. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Oh, look, they`re standing in the audience. Former Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida joins us next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Joining us tonight for the interview is former Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida. Mr. Grayson represented Florida`s eighth district from 2009 to 2011 Congressman Grayson, thanks very much for being with us. It`s nice to see you again. GRAYSON: Thank you. MADDOW: You have and have always had a knack for saying things in a way that in a way that connects with people. Sometimes you upset your critics but you definitely enthuse your supporters. The "Occupy Wall Street" protests seem to be connecting with people despite a campaign on the right to portray them as scary. What do you think is resonating so much here? GRAYSON: I think they have their eyes open and more and more people are seeing the scales fall from their eyes as well, because the "Occupy Wall Street" people are saying first there`s no accountability on Wall Street. They wrecked our economy. Years ago, they took a healthy economy and they gave us 9 percent, 10 percent or more unemployment. And they destroyed 20 percent of our national wealth in the course of just 18 months from the middle of 2007, to the end of 2008, destroyed 20 percent of our national wealth accumulated over the course of two centuries. And nobody`s been prosecuted for it. Nobody`s been indicted. Nobody`s been convicted. So, first, there`s no accountability. The second thing is that they`ve created a system that is enormously unequal. And the result of that is people are struggling to find a job to pay their bills, to pay their rent, to pay their credit card bills. According to Wikipedia, there are only five countries in the entire planet that are more unequal than the United States in the distribution of our wealth. That`s a system that Wall Street created, that Wall Street maintains, and that Wall Street enforces. And the way that they enforce is is the third gripe. The third gripe is Wall Street controls and dominates our political system. One party is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wall Street and the other caters to Wall Street all too much. So, people got into the situation right now where they feel that the system is completely unresponsive and they`re driven deeper and deeper into debt and misery. MADDOW: With a movement with that kind of message, how do you think it ends up playing out and affecting American politics more broadly? Not even necessarily in strict electoral terms. But how does it change the framing of issues. I mean, the right is trying to denounce the existence of protests at all as mobs and social unrest. Glenn Beck today ranting about people are going to be dragged from their homes and killed in the streets. The kinder, softer version of that on the right is to say that the protesters are motivated by class envy and class resentment dividing the nation. The right is reacting to this in slightly hysterical terms. That implies to me that people have a message that the right is worried about. GRAYSON: Well, I think that Glenn Beck is right. It`s only a matter of time before they do take him away -- but not the way that he means -- you know, in a straitjacket. And I think that`s how they`ll take him away. That much is obvious. But fundamentally, ask yourself what people want is solutions to their problems and what is either side offering in the next election? People don`t see solutions to their problems. You know, as I said earlier, there`s 24 million people in this country who can`t find full-time work. There`s 50 million people in this country who can`t see a doctor when they`re sick. They want to know what`s being done about this. What is going to help them in their normal ordinary lives and they`re desperate for solutions to those problems. The right certainly isn`t offering any. You heard Herman Cain. His answer is: get a job. Well, it`s not that easy. You know, if one person is out of work, maybe that person can find a job. But if 24 million people are out of work, that`s just not possible. The economy has been grossly mismanaged by Wall Street and by others. And people see that Wall Street is running our economic policy. That big oil is determining our energy policy, and that the military industrial conflicts is determining our foreign policy and miring us in these endless costly wars. People are just fed up. So, what do they do? What`s left to do? What is the one thing you can still do as a human being? You can go someplace. You can go someplace and in this world of the Internet, you can show yourself. And that`s what the people on "Occupy Wall Street" are doing. They`re doing the one last human thing left. They`re going somewhere. MADDOW: Showing yourself and also finding each other, I think. GRAYSON: That`s right. MADDOW: Congressman Alan Grayson, thank you so much for being here tonight and talking with us about it. I miss talking to you, sir. We`d like to have you back soon if you don`t mind. GRAYSON: It would be a pleasure, Rachel. Thank you. MADDOW: Thanks. All right. "Debunktion Junction" is coming up next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: All right. "Debunktion Junction," what`s my function? First up, Ron Paul won the most recent supposedly highly predictive Republican candidate straw poll at the Values Voter Summit this weekend. Is that true? Ron Paul, famously sort of libertarian except on abortion won the God, guns and gays social conservative Value Voters Summit straw poll this weekend. Is that true or is that false? True. And the reason this has to be debunked or bunked if you prefer is because the value voters straw people are vocally unhappy about the fact that Ron Paul won their contest. The values voters folks wanted so badly for him not to have won their straw poll, the president of the group that puts on the summit went on CNN this morning to make a case for why Ron Paul`s victory, in his own straw poll should be seen as totally irrelevant. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t think Ron Paul is truly reflective of where value voters stand. CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: So you`re saying your own poll results don`t mean anything? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, no. I actually say -- you know, when you look at statistics, statisticians will look for outliers. I think Ron Paul, when you look at everything is outlier in this poll. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Otherwise known as first. It is true that Ron Paul won the Values Voter Summit straw poll as much as the social conservative Value Voters Summit people wish that he had not. It is true. Next up, Jon Huntsman is polling at 3 percent in Iowa. The former Utah governor Jon Huntsman who gave his big policy address today, trying to position himself as the only Republican in the race with any foreign policy experience at all -- which is true -- Jon Huntsman is out of his 1 percent in every poll. Doldrums and hooray for Huntsman. Now he is now polling at a full 3 percent in Iowa as of today. Is that true or is that false? False. You may have been confused about this today if you saw this tweet from the folks at Public Policy Polling. Jon Huntsman leads Gary Johnson 3-1 for eighth place in Iowa. Then the tweet goes on, that`s supporters, not percentages. We called the folks at PPP just to make sure we understood this. The full poll is due out tomorrow and they told us, yes, they did not find 3 percent of likely Iowa Republican caucus goers supporting Jon Huntsman. They didn`t find 3 percent, they found three people total for Governor Huntsman. Among likely Iowa Republican caucus goers, Jon Huntsman is not polling at 3 percent. He is polling at three persons. So one true, one false. And more Debunktion, I can tell, in your future. That does it for us tonight, though. Now, it is time for "THE ED SHOW." Thanks for being with us. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END