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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 11/14/11

Guests: Josh Rogin, Dan Siegel

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Ed. Thanks, my friend. And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour. Newt Gingrich is ahead in the race for the Republican nomination for president of the United States. Pinch yourself, America. It is really, really happening. Woo-hoo! (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t think there`s anybody else in the race -- I don`t mean this as an act of ego. I don`t think there`s anybody else in the race with the background, I`ve been going this for 53 years. I have a PhD in American history, I`ve written 24 books, seven documentary films. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Newt Gingrich has, in fact, made seven documentary films and written 24 books, and in process of letting you know where you can buy all of these items and why you ought to buy them, maybe in multiple copies. Newt Gingrich seems to have inadvertently surpassed Mitt Romney and Herman Cain in the race for the Republican nomination for president. A new PPP poll out today showing a national lead for Newt Gingrich. Gingrich is at 28 percent in this new poll. Herman Cain is at 25 percent. Mitt Romney in third at 18 percent. A new CNN poll out today shows Mitt Romney in the lead with 24 percent, but Newt Gingrich in a statistical tie with him at 22 percent. Newt Gingrich is within the poll`s margin of error here in terms of the top spot. A private poll for a Republican pollster in Iowa that hit today shows Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich statistically deadlocked at the top of the heap among Iowa Republicans. This is the best day of Newt Gingrich`s life. For Newt Gingrich, this is a 13-point surge just since June when his entire senior staff quit en masse, saying all he wanted to do was sell his books and his DVDs. And frankly as staffers they did not think they were there to help huckster his products, they thought this was supposed to be a presidential campaign and they all walked. Well, these poll results are a slap in the face to anybody who thought Newt Gingrich was just out to sell books and DVDs, right? Mr. Gingrich celebrating his new top position in the polls tonight, by doing a DVD screening in Iowa. Quote, "Newt and Callista screen in `Nine Days that Changed the World` at Santa Maria Winery in Carroll, Iowa at 7:00 tonight." This is Newt`s DVD about the pope. If you look at the events tab on right now, what you`ll see is lots and lots and lots of events just like this one, hawking books and DVDs. Tomorrow night, for instance, Callista Gingrich will host a book signing in Webster City, Iowa. She has another book signing coming up you can find at, on Friday, in National Harbor, Maryland. Later that day, both Newt and Callista will screen a documentary "A City Upon a Hill," screening that in Massachusetts because that`s such an important Republican swing state, Massachusetts is. On Saturday, Callista will be signing books at the Hooray for Kids Bookstore in Alexandria, Virginia. And the following Saturday, Newt and Callista will be signing books at Books a Million in Naples, Florida. This is what Newt Gingrich lists as his campaign events. The Beltway line on Newt Gingrich right now is that now that he`s beginning to surge in the polls, his campaign is getting way more serious now. reporting today that Mr. Gingrich, quote, "is making fewer stops to promote his books and movies, rather than stumping." The far fewer new and improved Newt Gingrich 28.0, now with 100 percent less hucksterism, the supposedly new Newt Gingrich campaign? Seriously running, not just talking his books and his DVDs -- Newt Gingrich still doing more than a third of his upcoming events as book signings and DVD screenings. Running for president it turns out is a great way to sell your stuff, because the whole idea behind Newt`s stuff, the whole idea behind Newt Incorporated is that you should want to buy Newt Gingrich books and you should want to buy Newt Gingrich DVDs and you should want to pay thousands of dollars to get fake awards from Newt Gingrich enterprises because Newt Gingrich is such an important and very serious man. That is the whole marketing concept behind Newt Gingrich Incorporated. And that dovetails really nicely with running for president, because if you`re Newt Gingrich, running for president sort of gives you a justification to talk about yourself in rather grandiose terms. For example, late last week at an event in Michigan, Mr. Gingrich was asked about judges. Dave Weigel at was at the event and quotes Mr. Gingrich as responding this way. Quote, "If you go to, you`ll see an entire paper on rebalancing the judiciary. It`s the most thorough statement of the Constitution and balance of power I think that`s been written by a political figure since Lincoln`s first inaugural in 1861." Now, this is not somebody else`s awesome paper that Newt found somewhere and is now publicizing. It`s not somebody else`s paper that he has posted on his Web site and he is praising as being this great thing -- the greatest thing written since Lincoln`s first inaugural. This is him talking about himself. "The most thorough statement of the Constitution and balance of power since Lincoln`s first inaugural"? Back when he was Republican speaker of the House, he was quoted in "the New York Times" as telling an audience, quote, "People like me are what stand between us and Auschwitz." America, do you want to vote for that man for president? The guy who thinks of himself that way? This is the pregnant pause. OK. Then how about buying one of his books instead? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GINGRICH: I don`t think there`s anybody else with the range of experience, the range of background, the willingness to take the beating that I`ve exhibited in 53 years. I find it very formidable to think that I might win and that with your help, might go through eight very difficult years. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: OK. "A," Newt Gingrich promising if you elect him, eight very difficult years. Where do I sign? "B," he finds it formidable to think of himself winning. And "C," he keeps talking about 53 years. What is this 53 years thing he keeps talking about? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GINGRICH: I don`t think there`s anybody else in the race with a background, I`ve been doing this for 53 years. I don`t think there`s anybody else with the range of experience, the range of background, the willingness to take the beating that I`ve exhibited in 53 years. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Newt Gingrich says he`s been doing this, preparing for the job of president for 53 years. What is the 53 years thing? I mean, I`m kind of a bad judge of how old people look. But Newt Gingrich is older than 53. So, he`s not saying he has been preparing for this his whole life. According to his biography, Mr. Gingrich is 68 years old. But he keeps talking about his campaign for the presidency having started 53 years ago, which would mean when he was 15 years old. Now, delving into the self-mythology of Newt Gingrich is easier than it is with most candidates because he`s written so many books about himself. And so, dealing with this puzzle just involves delving into one of his many, many books about his own history. In Newt`s story of his own life, his political career, in fact, started when he was 15 years old. His political career, he says, started when he was 15 years old and his family took a vacation in France. That`s where it started. That`s when he started preparing for president -- on vacation in France at the age of 15. When Newt Gingrich was at the height of his powers in Congress in 1996, the PBS program "Frontline" did a big in-depth biography on Mr. Gingrich. In that biography, Mr. Gingrich`s stepfather who was with him on that family trip in France at the time, said that Newt never mentioned anything about that trip was all that important to him at the time. Quote, "He never said anything about it. He never discussed it." Regardless, that`s the myth now. This whole my political career started when I was in France on vacation at the age of 15. That is part of Newt Gingrich`s myth-making, building himself up into an important seeming, serious seeming guy. Buy my book. He`s also told other origin myths about himself like the one where he only ended up in politics reluctantly after abandoning his long held dream to be a zoologist. That`s another Newt Gingrich origin myth he tells whenever he`s photographed near adorable animals, or when he was trying to sell himself as an environmental. You remember when he was an environmentalist? One of his two dozen books has that environmentalist title. It`s called "A Contract with the Earth." You can get an autographed copy of "A Contract with the Earth" at for just $9.99. Newt Gingrich will tell you whatever story you would like to hear about him, whatever is most likely to motivate you to buy one of his books or DVDs. But right now, he`s at the top of the polls. Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain are trading front-runner position with Mitt Romney. These are the top-tier candidates right now -- Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain and Mitt Romney. Now, Herman Cain, as you know, is an art project, which is a fact we got further evidence to support today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do not agree with the way he handled it for the following reason -- no, that`s a different one. I got to go back to -- got all this stuff twirling around in my head. Specifically, what are you asking me, did I agree or not disagree with on what? (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That was from Herman Cain`s appearance today at the "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" editorial board where he was tripped up by, quote, "all this stuff twirling around in my head." We`ll have much more on that coming up later in the show. Herman Cain, a brilliant satirical performance arts project -- a performance art project about how -- I mean, what do you call it? How that you can be while still doing quite well in the race for the Republican nomination for president? The Herman Cain tape, I just have to tell you, is amazing. We will have more on that coming up. One of the ways we first knew that Herman Cain was a satire, that Herman Cain was an art project and not a real candidacy was when all of the different Republican candidates kept trading the lead in the polls and Herman Cain was asked about being the latest flavor of the month. Rather than criticizing the question, rather than criticizing the rather disparaging idea of being a flavor of the month, Herman Cain owned it, right? Herman Cain not only owned it, he named what flavor he was. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CAIN: If you`re Haagen-Dazs black walnut, you don`t go away, all right? Some of these other flavors of the month have no substance, you know? Black walnut has staying power. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Herman Cain declaring himself to be the flavor Haagen-Dazs black walnut, specifically for its staying power. Haagen-Dazs black walnut no longer exists as a flavor. That was one of the ways we first knew that Herman Cain was not just an art project but a really good performance arts project, a really funny one, rather than actually being a campaign. Well, this weekend, Herman Cain tripled down on that whole flavor mean thing, daring us all to unmask him once and for all. Now, he`s riffing not only on his own black walnut flavor, but he is now assigning all of the other Republican candidates` flavors as well. Mitt Romney according to Herman Cain is, quote, "just plain vanilla." Rick Perry is rocky road. And Michele Bachmann is tutti-frutti -- according to Herman Cain. Herman Cain is an art project. Herman Cain is an art project. Herman Cain is an art project. Herman Cain is an art project. OK. The whole Beltway evaluation of the Herman Cain sexual harassment allegations has been about how those allegation allegations will affect his standings in the polls, right? I have a hint for my comrades inside the Beltway, it may be more useful to note whether or not the Herman Cain sexual harassment allegations cause him to hire any staff to handle these allegations and the other responsibilities of campaigning. As far as we can tell, Herman Cain still has no real campaign staff to speak of. In any early states or nationally beyond a few Americans for Prosperity Koch brothers guys who have worked with him from the beginning. This lack of a campaign structure, this lack of having a real campaign not only made it really hard to get over the sexual harassment abuse allegations, it`s now showing itself in some ugly new ways. See, one of the things a campaign does for better or for worse is raise money off a candidate`s popularity. Taking that candidate`s brand and likeness and turning it into campaign dollars. The fact that Herman Cain does not have a real campaign to do that has not left him completely unable to raise money but it has left him mostly unable to capitalize, literally capitalize on how much Republican voters have liked him. And that has left a void if for other people to do that on his behalf in his name, except to not give the money to Herman Cain but keep the money for themselves. "The Washington Times" reporting today on a group called "Draft Herman Cain." Even though they were called Draft Herman Cain, they were formed after he was already in the race. It`s a group that`s been raising tons of money off Herman Cain`s recent popularity and putting that money essentially right into their own pockets. The group is run by two men, one of whom is a felon once imprisoned for fraud. Essentially, they raised money off Herman Cain fans out there, the gullible ones, and then they redirect the money raised in the name of Herman Cain into organizations that are just affiliated with themselves. Quote, "The donors have not political powerhouses but rather middle class Tea Partiers." This is the second such group the "Washington Times" reports is fund- raising now off Herman Cain`s name but not giving the money to Herman Cain. It`s a task made easy because Herman Cain doesn`t have a real campaign apparatus to defend himself against that sort of thing or get to those gullible donors first. This is what happens when Herman Cain is your front runner. This is what happens when the Newt Gingrich incorporated scam campaign is your front-runner. And those are the two other two contenders for the Republican nomination who are not Mitt Romney right now. Those guys and Mitt Romney, that`s the top tier. And with that competition, Mitt Romney still cannot move the needle on his poll numbers. At this time last year Mitt Romney was at 22 percent. Right now, Mitt Romney is -- yes, still at 22 percent. So, Romney averaging over time 22 percent. He has never been higher at all than 25 percent. Right now Newt Gingrich is polling at 28 percent. Mitt Romney wakes up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat dreaming of a number like Newt Gingrich has right now. But he has never gotten it. He`s gone from losing to Donald Trump, to losing to Michele Bachmann, to losing to Rick Perry, to losing to the art project guy, to now losing to the Gingrich productions DVD commercial. And so, that`s what we`ve got for the Republican Party, picking its nominee to run against Barack Obama. It has never been more clear that Mitt Romney will get the nomination, and it has never been more clear that Republican voters prefer almost anyone over him. I mean, not Rick Santorum, obviously, but aside from that -- really, anyone. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GINGRICH: I recently wrote a book called "A Nation Like No Other" designed to deal with American history. We recently made a movie called "A City Upon a Hill" that explains the origins of American exceptionalism. I should say like brief commercial. Callista couldn`t be here because she`s at a bookstore in Dubuque signing her new book which called "Sweet Land of Liberty" which is for 4 to 8-year-olds. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Here`s what happened when Herman Cain sat down to talk with the "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" editorial board today. Just watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you agree with President Obama on Libya, or not? CAIN: OK. Libya. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The important thing to realize here is that is not the mistake. The mistake is what happened after that when he -- actually started talking. In the category of hard to watch but also impossible not to watch, Herman Cain coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: The German chancellor today said Europe is in its toughest hour since World War II. She`s not given to hyperbole, either. That`s how serious the economic crisis is in Europe right now. Also, the Arab League has suspended Syria, thrown them out for using its military against its own people. Also, five former secretaries of state wrote today a joint letter saying that this is not the time for the U.S. to be cutting our State Department budget further any. This is not the time to be scaling back on our diplomacy and our international involvement, not in the world in this situation. These are not people who normally do these things together either. Look at this letter. It`s from Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright, George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, all of them together today, pleading for us not to cut the State Department any further. No matter how much or how much attention the U.S. media pays to international stuff and to America`s role in the world, we`re having one of those moments in the world when America`s role in among the rest of the countries in the world, it just feels very, very important. When you really want there to be serious people who know what they`re talking about, dealing with all these historically incredibly serious issues all over the world. It`s just one of those times. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you agreed with President Obama on Libya, or not? CAIN: OK. Libya. President Obama supported the uprising, correct? President Obama called for the removal of Gadhafi. Just want to make sure we`re talking about the same thing before I say yes, I agree, I know I didn`t agree. I do not agree with the way he handled it for the following reason -- no, that`s a different one. I got to go back to -- got all this stuff twirling around in my head. Specifically, what are you asking me, did I agree or not disagree with on what? It`s not a simple yes or not because there are different pieces and I would have gone about assessing the situation differently, which might caused us to end at the same place. But where I think more could have been done was, what`s the nature of the opposition? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you would have sent ground troops? CAIN: I did -- no, I did I said I would have done a better job of assessing the situation relative to the opposition, first, before I made of the decisions about what we would do. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Many Republicans supported -- congratulated him for how he handled that. You would not have been among that group? CAIN: I`m not criticizing him. I`m just saying I just don`t think enough was done relative to assessing the opposition before everything, you know, exploded. That`s what I`m saying. I`m a much more deliberate problem -- decision maker is a point I keep coming back to. Some people want to say, well, as president you`re supposed to know everything. No, you don`t. I believe in having all of the information, as much of it as I possibly can, rather than making a decision or making a statement about whether I totally agreed and didn`t agree when I wasn`t privy to the entire situation. There might be some things there that might have caused me to feel differently. So I`m not trying to hedge on the questions. It`s just that that`s my nature as a businessman. I need to know the facts as much as possible. I need to hear all of the alternatives. For example, someone just -- you might have mentioned that even within the administration, there were different views. I would want to hear all those views. Look at all the information. And then I make the decision as the commander in chief. So, this is the only point I`m trying to make. (END VIDEOTAPE) MADDOW: It`s one thing not to be able to tell Libya from Liberia from Listerine. But what would be awesome if there was some expectation that you had to be able to tell Libya from Liberia from Listerine in order to meaningful compete for a major party nomination for president of the United States in 2011. That would be awesome. Joining us now is Josh Rogin, staff writer for "Foreign Policy" magazine and author of the blog "The Cable." Josh, thanks for being here. Thanks for your time. JOSH ROGIN, FOREIGN POLICY: Thank you. MADDOW: I was watching your face while you were watching the Herman Cain tape. So, I know a little bit about what you think about this. The Cain campaign this afternoon said Mr. Cain was just tired. He described himself as making no errors, he just paused. What is your response to that? ROGIN: Well, within that -- that whole tape was sort of like a car crash. You want to like away, but you just can`t. And I think perhaps the most devastating/humorous part of that five-minute clip was when Herman Cain actually asked the interviewers to confirm the basic facts. Obama was against Gadhafi, is that right? I mean, it`s worse than not having a position or stated it clearly. It shows a complete lack of grasp of the basic facts that happened in one of the major military interventions of our era. And after that, it just continually got worse and worse and worse. Now, to be fair to Herman Cain, the Libya issue was a tricky one for all the candidates, our new GOP front-runner Newt Gingrich was for a Libya no fly zone until Barack Obama did it. And he was against it. Mitt Romney was reported to have at least five different positions on Libya. And Michele Bachmann believes the whole Arab spring is a negative development that was caused by Obama`s mistreatment of Benjamin Netanyahu. I mean, you really can`t make this stuff up. MADDOW: In terms of what happens next among Republicans and foreign policy, we all knew heading into this that Jon Huntsman was the only candidate who had any foreign policy experience to speak of. He`s a three- time ambassador and he`s done a lot of business for his dad`s company abroad. He`s really the only one who has foreign policy experience at all. And the question has been, whether or not anybody is going to care whether or not foreign policy is something that these guys are going to try to use the win the nomination or whether foreign policy ignorance is going to be -- ignorance or extremism is going to be the way one of these guys loses the nomination. Do you have a sense of how that is playing out? ROGIN: Sure. And I would just say that Rick Santorum also has plenty of foreign policy experience, but the thing that`s common amongst Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum, that neither of them have a chance of making it through the primary process. So, let`s deal with the candidates who are serious contenders. And yes, it`s basically been the race to the right. The idea here is to get to the right of Barack Obama who`s already a pretty hawkish Democrat on foreign policy. So, that requires them to adhere to these very simplistic and watered down positions that are just about American toughness and American individuality and American unilateralism and we need to be tough on Iran and we need to be friends with Israel. Without a lot of specifics about what exactly they would do differently than what has been done. I mean, the basic idea here is that you don`t win elections on foreign policy. Very few people go to the polls and say, oh, I`m going to vote for candidate "x" because of his position on Libya. But you can lose elections on foreign policy. It`s what we call the commander in chief test. If you can`t perform the basic function of the president which is to lead the nation`s military and foreign policy, which is an executive function, then you can`t be president. And I think that`s what we`re seeing now is that candidates like Herman Cain just don`t have the credibility or the knowledge to meet that test. That`s a real problem. MADDOW: Josh Rogin, staff writer for "Foreign Policy Magazine" and author of the blog "The Cable" -- Josh, thanks very much for your time. I really appreciate it. ROGIN: Thank you. MADDOW: All right. The latest hero in the "Occupy" movement is Shelby, a Border Collie mix. Stick it to the man, Shelby. Her story and much more "Occupy" news just ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: This past week in Ohio, the Republican bill to strip union rights in that state, senior achievement of Republican Governor John Kasich and Ohio Republicans was repealed by Ohio voters. It was repealed overwhelmingly by a 23-point margin. The poll that predicted that result exactly in Ohio, the poll that predicted that it would lose and it would lose by that 23-point margin also said if John Kasich, himself, had been on the ballot, if there was a rematch of the election that put John Kasich in office in the first place last year, John Kasich would lose his seat in Ohio by another huge margin, by 18 points. John Kasich, lucky devil, was not on the Ohio ballot for recall last week, but his twin, Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker, is -- or at least he could be, starting momentarily. There have been some misconceptions about the Scott Walker recall floating around recently. We`ll clear those up on "Debunktion Junction," that is straight ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: The "Occupy Wall Street" movement will be two months old this week. And it proceeds in American politics right now on two tracks. The first one, the one that`s easiest to see on the national level but probably the least interesting to the protesters, themselves, is how "Occupy Wall Street" is translating into electoral politics. Now, this, for example, is an ad being run against Elizabeth Warren in her Massachusetts Senate race against Republican Scott Brown. This ad is by Karl Rove`s group, Crossroads GPS, and it links Elizabeth Warren to "Occupy Wall Street" and then it attacks "Occupy Wall Street" as a horrible, horrible un-American thing. Elizabeth warren is "Occupy Wall Street." Occupy Wall Street is a horrible thing. Therefore, by the property of politics, you get the idea. But if Elizabeth Warren is "Occupy Wall Street," right, Scott Brown really is Wall Street, itself. Out of 100 senators, Scott Brown is number one in campaign contributors from hedge funds. He`s also the senator who has received the most campaign money from the venture capital industry. He`s number two in receiving money from private equity and investment firms. And he`s number two in money from these securities and investment industry overall. So, Wall Street seems pretty desperate to hold on to Scott Brown in any circumstances. But if he`s running against Elizabeth Warren of all people, you can imagine how desperate they are to hold on to him. Elizabeth Warren`s response to the attack ad from Karl Rove`s group came in the form of her first political ad, which was released today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS SENATE CANDIDATE: I`m Elizabeth Warren. I`m running for the United States Senate. And before you hear a bunch of ridiculous attack ads, I want to tell you who I am. Like a lot of you, I came up the hard way. My dad sold carpet. When he had a heart attack, my mom went to work so we could keep our house. We all worked. My three brothers joined the military. I got married at 19, had two kids, worked my way through college, taught elementary school. Then I went to law school. For years, I worked to expose how Wall Street and the big banks are crushing middle class families. It just isn`t right. I stood up to the big banks and their army of Washington lobbyists. I worked to hold them accountable. I led a fight for a new agency to protect consumers, and we got it. But Washington is still rigged for the big guys and that`s got to change. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Elizabeth Warren in her first campaign ad speaking the language of economic populism in a way that shows you why she is as popular as she is. If the Democrats are going to make any sort of claim to being the party of the 99 percent, to be the economic populist party, Elizabeth Warren is part of the reason why. She has provided them with part of the vocabulary to do that. In Republican politics, of course, Occupy Wall Street is being used as an epithet. So, that`s one level in which "Occupy Wall Street" is playing out in electoral politics. The other political place, though, that "Occupy Wall Street" is playing out is in the streets, all day, every day. These are not marches or individual contained demonstrations. The idea of the "Occupy" protests is that people stay. That`s the "Occupy" part of it, right? You don`t go anywhere. Like Hoovervilles. These are supposed to be semi-permanent living reminders of what`s wrong with the economy and the political system. The permanence is part of the pressure. And city officials around the nation frankly are not handling this well at all. Across the country this weekend, six different cities shut down six different "Occupy" protest camps, including Burlington, Vermont, also St. Louis, where there were 27 arrests. Portland, Oregon, 50 arrests last night. Salt Lake City, 19 arrested. And Denver, where 17 people were arrested. If you`re looking for comment on a Denver arrest, you`re going to have to a Border Collie slash cattle dog mix, named Shelby. Shelby was elected the leader of "Occupy Denver" last week because as one occupier put it, quote, "Shelby has more human traits than any corporation. She can bleed, she can breed and she can show emotion. If this is the way the corporate chooses to do business, let`s apply the same rule." There were a lot of arrests today at "Occupy Oakland" again. Before dawn this morning, hundreds of Oakland police officers armed with batons entered the park that has been the site of "Occupy Oakland." They arrested people. They took down about 100 tents. Oakland`s mayor, Jean Quan, who ordered the park to be cleared, toured the former site of the encampment. This raid was far less confrontational than the last one three weeks on October 25th. Then police violently cleared out protesters only to see a mass revulsion at their tactics. There were a number of injuries, including the serious wounding of an Iraq war veteran, a Marine named Scott Olsen, whose skull was fractured by a blunt object, allegedly by a projectile fired by police officers. Scott Olsen was released from the hospital this weekend. He posted this picture of himself online as of last night. "Occupy Oakland" protests came back from that October police action bigger than they had been before. This right now is a shot of what "Occupy Oakland" looked like just moments ago, reports of between 500 and 1,000 people reconvening after they were cleared out this morning, reconvening in downtown Oakland. Joining us tonight for the interview is a man who resigned his volunteer advisory position with Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and protest of the police action today at "Occupy Oakland." His name is Dan Siegel. Mr. Siegel, thanks very much for your time tonight. I appreciate the chance to talk with you about this. DAN SIEGEL, RESIGNED AS ADVISOR TO OAKLAND MAYOR: My pleasure. MADDOW: Why did you choose to resign at 2:00 a.m. this morning? SIEGEL: You know, I was very unhappy with the police raid on the "Occupy Oakland" camp on October 25th, and in a conversation with some of the protesters after that raid. They challenged me about continuing to work for the city administration. And I said I was really thinking about it, but I decided to stay and hope that the policy of allowing the camp to resume would be followed. But when it became clear early this morning that 600 or 700 riot police were on their way to downtown Oakland to take 100 people out of tents they`d been occupying, I wrote an e-mail to the mayor and said I couldn`t be part of that. MADDOW: Obviously, you disagree with the mayor`s decision. But having worked closely with her and having known her for many, many years, do you have any insight into why she believed that the protest must go? She said her words tonight, I`m paraphrasing, that the movement will continue but keep cannot sleep out in Oakland anymore in order to make their point. SIEGEL: Well, the movement will continue. I certainly agree with that. And I think people will sleep out, if not in city hall plaza, in some place elsewhere they choose to stay. I think that`s really where I disagree with Mayor Quan and other city officials. They just don`t see, in my opinion, the scope of this movement. This is a tremendous movement. It`s a productive movement. It`s a progressive movement of people who have been passive for years in the face of economic attacks, homelessness, joblessness, foreclosures, crushing student debt and so on. I think it has the potential to really remake American society. And if that`s true, then people who run cities and particularly cities like Oakland, where the 99 percent live and face all the problems I mentioned, should be supportive of those movements and should not think that they can control them. You know, the other piece, Rachel, is beyond just the politics of whose side are you on. To me, it seems like a totally useless and futile activity to spend millions of dollars to take people out of tents, to create situations where there was bloodshed in our streets and lots of chaos for days because they`re going to come back. This is a movement that can`t be stopped. I think it makes no sense to waste the meager budgets that we have in places like Oakland in fighting with folks who are trying to make things better. MADDOW: What can you imagine -- as somebody who helped try to take responsibility for the way that Oakland is governed, and your advisory role with the mayor, until you resigned, what can you imagine in terms of a reasonable accommodation that the city could make to stop confronting the protesters and instead to allow them to stay in order to say their piece? SIEGEL: Well, you know, I think the first thing is that people in city hall have to get to know the protesters. I spent many, many hours with them at the general assemblies and other activities and the vast majority of them are incredibly reasonable, intelligent, thoughtful, tolerant people. And I believe that if there had been more of an effort on the part of the city government to actually get to know them, they would have been successful in persuading the occupiers to meet the city`s demands in terms of making sure that the park was clean and the sanitation was maintained and the police and fire departments would be allowed access when it was necessary for them to come in. But I think there was just an attitude that got created very early on of people stereotyping each other. I think that`s what created the problem. And then in the last week, there was tremendous pressure, unfortunately, on Mayor Quan from some of the more conservative members of the Oakland City Council and from people in the Chamber of Commerce and others who used the fact that there was a shooting near the camp last Friday as, in my view, an excuse to demand it be shut down. And at the end of the day, the mayor was just unable to stand up in the face of that kind of hostility. MADDOW: Dan, I guess, city mayors and other authorities around the country look to the experience of Oakland to make their own decisions about what to do with their own occupy encampments. There are a thousand of these across the country. Obviously, you advocate local officials get to know the protesters, and so, they`re not making decisions based on stereotypes. From what you`ve done and what you think Oakland has done wrong, is there advice you have for local authorities, local police departments, local mayors in making decisions on what to do about this movement? SEIGEL: Well, I think people do have to understand that this movement is the 99 percent and that the goals are really important goals that we should all be working for. And I think there has to be a spirit of compromise. Go to the general assemblies. Wait your turn to speak. Address the people who were there and spend time with them, because at the end of the day, we should be making common cause with the occupy movement to make the sorts of changes that are necessary to have a fair taxation system, to curb the power of the big banks, to deal with student loans and foreclosures and so on. MADDOW: Dan Siegel, civil rights attorney who was a volunteer legal adviser to the Oakland Mayor Jean Quan before his resignation early this morning -- Mr. Siegel, thanks for taking time to explain this to us. I really appreciate your time, sir. SIEGEL: Thank you for having me on. MADDOW: All right. When bunk needs debunking, we have "Debunktion Junction," starring Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and pajama parties. That`s coming up right at the end of the show. Please stick around. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: "Debunktion Junction" -- now with 50 percent more politically themed pajamas -- is coming straight up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: This is Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado. Watch this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D), COLORADO: Some people up here think that congress has always been unpopular. It is just an institution, an unpopular place. Not so. Look at this, Mr. President. Here`s Congress` approval rating today, 9 percent. We`re almost at the margin of error for zero. We did some research, Mr. President, to find out what else is at 9 percent. And we couldn`t find virtually anything in public polls taken across the country. My goodness, the Internal Revenue Service has a 40 percent approval rating, compared to our 9 percent. B.P. had a 16 percent approval rating at the height of the oil spill. And we`re at 9 percent. There`s an actress who`s at 15 percent. More people support the United States becoming communist -- I don`t for the record -- at 11 percent than approve of the job we are doing. I guess we can take some comfort that Fidel Castro is at 5 percent. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Democratic Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado making the case in Congress that Congress is very, very unpopular. For the record, when he talks about the actress, the actress, the one who he incredulously says is more popular than Congress, even as he can`t bring himself to say her name. The polling actress at 15 percent, he was referencing, that would be Paris Hilton, who might be more heiress than actress but, anyway, is significantly more popular than the United States. Today, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives named a lot of post offices after special people, plus they named a courthouse and a wildlife refuge. So, maybe naming those things will turn things around for Congress in terms of people hating their guts of them as an institution. Democrats, of course, are the minority in the House of Representatives. And in the House, that means you have basically zero power in the institution. Well, today, Democrats used their zero power in the institution to hold a forum. Not a hearing. They can`t do that. The no-power Democrats held a forum in the House about the rollback of voting rights in states controlled by Republicans across the country this year. That was a key consequence, of course, of the 2010 elections when Republicans took control of so many legislatures. Republicans in those states moving to curtail early voting, to curtail voter registration drives, banning people from voting altogether if they don`t show documentation -- documentation that hundreds of thousands of eligible voters in each of those states do not have. Meanwhile, nearly obscured among the news of so many high-profile wins for Democrats and for progressive causes in last week`s elections, last week`s off year elections, is this news, it was close but Republicans did end up winning control of the Virginia state senate. So, in Virginia the Republicans have both chambers of the legislature and the governorship. And Republicans won control of the Mississippi House, which now means Republicans have that state`s entire legislature and the governorship, as well. For Mississippi, that is the first time that`s been true since the civil war and reconstruction. So two more state legislatures have just gone all the way red. If what the Republicans have been doing with the power like that this year is anything to go by -- Mississippi and Virginia, brace yourselves. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: "Debunktion Junction," what`s my function? I didn`t know I could roll my W`s before I did this segment. Anyway, first up, true or false, Afghan officials announced that they have made a catch, one of the chief spokesmen for the Taliban in Afghanistan. Afghan officials say they nabbed him in a raid near the Pakistan border. So, true or false, is Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid in custody? (BUZZER) MADDOW: False. He is not, at least as far as journalists can tell. Face-to-face contact between Zabiullah and the media is rare. In fact, the only time he`s been on camera that we know of was here, in 2009, not very handy. He kept his head covered and his back to the camera the whole time. But he does talk to journalists on the phone all the time. And so, when "The New York Times" heard that he had been captured today, they did what you would do. They called him on his cell phone and he answered. He told the reporter that he was not in custody saying, quote, "I am talking to you on the phone right now." Afghan authorities say the guy they arrested also claims to be Zabiullah, the Taliban spokesman, which maybe the Taliban strategy. "The New York Times" has also reported that American military officials say they think of Zabiullah not as a single person, but as a team of Taliban operatives all pretending to be the same man, which is a complicated idea. But whether or not they got the one guy, the real Zabiullah, the Taliban spokesman today in Afghanistan, whether they got him or not, functionally speaking, we know from "The New York Times" that there is still a guy answering the Taliban cell phone and doing the Taliban spokesman job. All right. Next up: true or false -- the campaign to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, that campaign starts tomorrow. (BUZZER) MADDOW: False sort of. The campaign to collect signatures to recall Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker starts just after midnight. So, yes, technically that is tomorrow, but I have to tell you the party has already started. The Wisconsin Democratic Party which bills itself as the official Scott Walker recall headquarters is coordinating all kinds of parties around the state of Wisconsin tonight. Some, of course, are gatherings of Packers fans who also want to recall Scott Walker. Some of them are pajama parties and some of the pajama parties are asking attendees to come up with Scott Walker recall-themed pajamas. All of the parties will hit their party peak at 12:01 a.m. tonight when the party goers can start signing the first petitions to recall Governor Walker from office. They were going to need a lot of them. They`re going to need more than a half million signatures by mid-January in order to force a recall election of Scott Walker. And in Wisconsin, that`s a lot. Part of the reason there`s been confusion about the timing on this is because 10 days ago, a Scott Walker supporter filed papers to recall him. Now, why would somebody who`s pro-Scott Walker file papers to recall Scott Walker? Well, that`s because, as "The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel" points out, that filing gave Governor Walker a week and a half head start on campaign fundraising to fend off the recall effort -- which is nice and also sneaky. Ad also please send photos of your recall theme pajamas. My email address is Thank you. That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow night. Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD" with Lawrence O`Donnell. Have a good one. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END