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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 11/28/11

Guests: Karen Tumulty, Bob Herbert, Buddy Roemer

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Ed. Welcome back. I missed you, my friend. ED SCHULTZ, HOST, "THE ED SHOW": I put on a few pounds. We slimmed up the camera tonight. The turkey did it to me again. What can I say? MADDOW: I`m going to suck it in the next hour. I know you how feel. Thanks, man. SCHULTZ: You bet. MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour. It`s good to be back. The Herman Cain campaign is in damage control after a local FOX station in Atlanta aired an exclusive interview with a woman who says she had an adulterous affair with Herman Cain for the past 13 years. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He made it very intriguing. It was fun. It was something that took me away from my sort of humdrum life at the time, and it was exciting. REPORTER: She says the physical relationship ended about eight months ago, right before Cain announced he was running for president. But the communication did not. When we asked for corroborating evidence, she pointed us to her cell phone. One name, Herman Cain. She showed us some of her cell phone bills that included 61 phone calls or text messages to or from this number starting with 678. She says it is Herman Cain`s private cell phone. The calls were made during four different months. Calls or texts made as early as 4:26 in the morning and as late as 7:52 at night. The latest were in September of this year. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`ve never worked together, and I can`t imagine anyone phoning or texting me for the last 2 1/2 years just because. REPORTER: We texted the number and Herman Cain called us back. He told us he knew Ginger White but said these are more false allegations. He said she had his number because he was trying to help her financially. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Late this afternoon, Mr. Cain`s attorney sent that FOX News station a statement reading in part, "No individual, rather a private citizen, a candidate for public office or public official should be questioned about his or her private sexual life. Mr. Cain has no obligation to discuss these types of accusations publicly with the media and he will not do so even if his principled position is viewed unfavorably by members of the media." To be fair, I think the reason this latest allegation about Mr. Cain is news, is not because this allegation was that he`s done something illegal or even because it`s anybody`s business what any two adults do inside or outside the bounds of their own marriage. Private life is private life, even for public figures -- unless those public figures choose to build their political careers on criticizing other people`s private lives and proclaiming the superiority of their own private life. In the case of Mr. Cain, he has campaigned for office by saying he will defend the sacred institution of marriage against liberals who want to destroy it. Because of that, Mr. Cain now has a sacred institution glass house problem. And although the lawyer`s statement said Mr. Cain would not discuss these allegations as a matter of principle, I`m not sure that Mr. Cain, himself, got that memo tonight. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WOLF BLITZER, CNN: Did you have a 13-year affair with this woman? HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No. I did not. BLITZER: Did you know her for 13 years? CAIN: Yes, but I did not have an affair. OK? And until I see and hear exactly what`s going to be -- what the accusations are going to be made, let`s move on. But I acknowledge that I knew the woman. I acknowledge that I`ve known her for about that period of time. But the accusation that I had a 13-year affair with her? No. BLITZER: Was this an affair? CAIN: No, it was not. BLITZER: There was no sex? CAIN: No. BLITZER: None? CAIN: No. BLITZER: And if this woman says there was, she`s lying? Is that what you`re -- CAIN: Wolf, let`s see what the story is going to be. I don`t want to get into being pinned down on things until we see what the story is going to be. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Those comments from Mr. Cain coming after his lawyer said that he will not discuss this matter at all. Well, there`s a political flurry about this new Herman Cain scandal tonight which this flurry may last into tomorrow, may not. But if it does last, it will mostly be because there isn`t really other huge political news pushing this out of the news cycle right now. Otherwise, I think this would be over fairly quickly. I mean, sex scandal allegation number seven or sex scandal allegation number eight depending on how you count just doesn`t have the same marginal impact as sex scandal allegation one or two or three. And whether it`s because of the sex scandals or seeming to not know what Libya was or people just getting to know him better as the Koch brothers` brother from another mother, as he put it -- if you look a the polling in the recent weeks, his presidential hopes appear to be mostly in the rear viewer mirror. I mean, anything can happen, right? But at least right now, if you look at the trend line for Herman Cain in the polls, he looks like a candidate who has peaked. The new flavor of the month, of course, the new non-Mitt Romney candidate who is currently on the rise in the Republican presidential politics is another Republican from Georgia, it`s former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. And in order to understand the way in which Newt Gingrich is peaking right now in the post-Thanksgiving flush, in order to understand that, you have to understand this guy. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PETE DU PONT (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: For America, we do not promise that everyone wins. Only that everyone gets a chance to try. And you have given me that chance. I took advantage of it as well as I could. I appreciate it. And thank you for it. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That is Pete Du Pont speaking in 1988 about five seconds after losing really badly in the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary. Pete Du Pont came in fourth out of five candidates in New Hampshire that year and promptly dropped out, never to be heard from again. Pete Du Pont was sort of a late `80s version of one of the Koch brothers today. He was a zillionaire inheritor of his family`s chemical company, a company not called Koch Industries in his case but called Du Pont. Perhaps you have heard of the Du Pont Company. And Mr. Du Pont used his family`s fortune and power to run for office and to promote a signature blend of big, intrusive government for regular people, government that`s sort of all up in your business as an individual human but government that is almost nonexistent for corporations. So, Mr. Du Pont ran on a platform, for example, of mandatory drug testing for all students in America. So for the crime of being a student, the government would force you to turn over your urine. Credit card companies, though, not only didn`t have to hand over their urine, they really didn`t have to worry about corporate taxes either. Pete Du Pont is the guy who made Delaware the place that all the credit card companies moved to, to avoid many corporate taxes. Pete Du Pont is still alive. He`s now the head of the National Center for Policy Analysis, which had a brief cameo on our show last week when it was the conservative think tank behind the air pollution is good for asthma theory floated on the floor of the United States Senate by Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. He noted that power plant emissions have been going down over time, but asthma has been going up over time. So he posited maybe power plant emissions aren`t so bad, maybe they could be inversely related. That was data he was citing from Pete Du Pont`s National Center for Policy Analysis. But back in 1998, Pete Du Pont was running for president and he`s one great concrete success is that campaign that he lost very, very badly, the thing he got was an endorsement from the largest and most influential newspaper in New Hampshire, "The Union Leader." "The Union Leader" endorsed Pete Du Pont that year and this weekend, the same newspaper endorsed Newt Gingrich for president. This was their big front page above the fold headline yesterday -- "For president, Newt Gingrich." Now, it is not shocking that "The Union Leader" would endorse somebody other than Mitt Romney despite what you may have heard about this, this weekend and today. This newspaper, in fact, really seems to dislike Mitt Romney. They not only didn`t endorse Mr. Romney the last time he ran for president. They spent the entire presidential primary season basically ripping Mr. Romney to shreds, running editorials like this one every few weeks. "The more Mitt Romney speaks, the less believable he becomes." Ah. So, the biggest New Hampshire paper not endorsing Mitt Romney, given how we know they feel about him, that`s not a big surprise. The big surprise is why this newspaper`s publisher said that Newt Gingrich got the endorsement instead. Listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE MCQUAID, PUBLISHER, NEW HAMPSHIRE UNION LEADER: Gingrich is going to have a better time in the general election than Mitt Romney. I think it`s going to be Obama`s 99 percent versus the 1 percent, and Romney sort of represents the 1 percent. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Occupy the GOP primary! I sort of think congratulations are in order here. I mean, anybody who has doubted the effectiveness of the Occupy Wall Street movement, who has doubted what they might accomplish, especially without some manifesto of specific demands, let the record show appealing to the 99 percent of Americans and not the 1 percent is now the stated rationale for one of the most conservative newspapers in the country making its endorsement for the Republican presidential nomination. So, the Occupy Wall Street movement, you know, really were a mirror image of the Tea Party like the beltway media says it is, then the occupy movement would be affecting the left edge of Democratic politics -- the same way that the Tea Party affected the right edge of Republican politics. They are not a mirror image of each other. Despite what you may have heard, behold the Occupy Wall Street movement apparently having a full spectrum political impact even on Republicans. And it`s not like this conservative newspaper was inclined in a "we are the 99 percent" populist direction before this movement. This is a newspaper, after all, that endorsed Pete Du Pont of the Du Pont Du Pont`s. This is the newspaper that also endorsed Steve Forbes in 2000. Steve Forbes of "Forbes." In New Hampshire, the "Manchester Union Leader" has not exactly been looking out for the little guy. They have not been looking out for the populist candidates to endorse. But this year, the same paper says that Mitt Romney seems too 1 percentey. So, instead, they`re going with Newt Gingrich. Memo to "The New Hampshire Union Leader": everyone gets that Mitt Romney seems a little too 1 percentey for the political climate in America right now, arguably. But if you actually looked into Newt Gingrich -- I mean, on paper, on paper it can seem daunting to look into Newt Gingrich. When you start looking into his financial empire, it can seem sort of complicated, but it`s not. It`s basically just this -- 1425 K Street Northwest in Washington, D.C. --1425 K Street Northwest is the home of Gingrich Communications. 1425 K Street Northwest also the home of Gingrich Groups. Gingrich Group appears to be known now as the Center for Health Transformation, a for-profit Gingrich-related health care thing. 1425 K Street Northwest the home of Gingrich Productions. 1425 K Street Northwest also the home of Gingrich Holdings. 1425 K Street Northwest also very recently the home of American Solutions for Winning the Future -- which you will remember for the scammy blast faxes where Newt would promise to give you a prestigious award if you sent $5,000 to 1425 K Street Northwest, Washington, D.C., suite 750. You can also reach Newt Gingrich`s Hispanic outreach news thing called the Americano through Gingrich Communications, located at 1425 K Street Northwest. Basically, anything related to the myriad names by which the name Newt Gingrich has been used to separate conservatives from their money, it all basically goes through 1425 K Street Northwest in Washington, D.C. I mean, on paper, it looks like this, right? It looks complicated. This is a map of Newt Inc. that was put together this weekend by "The Washington Post." You could see Gingrich holdings there at the top and then everything flowing down from that. That`s what it looks like on paper. In reality, in bricks and mortar land, it`s all just right there. It`s all that one building. If you happen to find yourself in Washington, D.C., at some point walking by that building, check for your wallet. The empire of highly interconnected Newt-related organizations that raise huge sums of money and then pass that money around among the different Newt organizations, thus enabling the half million dollar Tiffany`s charge account lifestyle that Republican primary voters were laughing at just a few months earlier this year, that empire has long been thought of as a barrier to any real political future for Mr. Gingrich. Since he left the House of Representatives 15 years ago under a cloud of ethics charges, with the House fining him $300,000 for the way he was making money off of political activities, Newt Gingrich has essentially spent the 15 years since making money off himself off of political activities, using politics to make himself very, very, very rich -- 1 percent rich. And this rise in the polls does not appear to be changing things for the way Mr. Gingrich lives or r behaves. This time last year, remember it was Gingrich Productions` "12 Days of Christmas Presents. Merry, merry Gingrichmas. Do all of your Christmas shopping at Remember? This year, he`s doing it again. Today, under a URL that hopefully notes it is Cyber Monday, Newt Gingrich who is the front-runner for the Republican nomination for president, Newt Gingrich Inc suggests to celebrate merry Monday today, you should buy this autographed copy of his newest book "A Nation Like No Other" for just $21.99. That`s $6 off the cover price. So, yes, it is news. It is probably pretty big news for the country and for our politics that the biggest newspaper in New Hampshire, "The New Hampshire Union Leader" is looking for a we are the 99 percent Republican presidential candidate. It`s smaller but more amazing news that they think that guy is Newt Gingrich. Joining us now is the author of yesterday`s story on Newt Inc at "The Washington Post`s" national political correspondent Karen Tumulty. Karen, thank you so much for joining us tonight. It`s nice to have you here. KAREN TUMULTY, WASHINGTON POST: I was looking at the picture of the building there. Think how much he saved on commuting. MADDOW: Yes. Well, he has to commute between suite 350, suite 450 and suite 750. But it sounds like it might all be on the same elevator bank. It is amazing. Is this sort of a more typical thing in Washington than we understand? Are there lots of politicos and former politicos who have interlocking money-raising empires like this? TUMULTY: Absolutely. I think what is different about Newt Gingrich`s plan, it was really an economic resurrection that sort of almost mirrors what we`ve seen him do politically in the last few months. And I think it was a lot more entrepreneurial, perhaps, than we`ve seen from other people. But there is a very well trod path between Capitol Hill and lobbying shops and law firms, where there is generally a pretty comfortable afterlife for politicians and top staffers from Congress. It`s, you know, again, Washington is a pretty cozy place to be if you`re a has-been. MADDOW: One of the things I find most interesting, and sort of endlessly fascinating the more you look into it about Mr. Gingrich is that he very explicitly and proudly describes himself as not a lobbyist. And I think we all understand the revolving door between Capitol Hill and lobby shops trying to influence former colleagues through a system that you used to been an expert of because you were on Capitol Hill. He`s explicitly not a lobbyist. And so, part of the way that he has raised money is by being a political authority by using things like blast faxes and push polling and direct mail to raise money as if he is a cause. Is there anybody else who does that? TUMULTY: Oh, I think -- you know, I think there have been a number of politicians who`ve done that. Dick Armey, for instance, was also somebody who did these sorts of things. And, you know, there`s a sort of technical definition that requires you to actually register as a lobbyist. That actually requires you to go up to Capitol Hill and have contact with individual members or their offices. This is really not what we`re talking about here. These are people who are very much trying to influence policy, influence legislation but not in the kind of, you know, going up there and asking individual members to do you favors. MADDOW: When Mr. Gingrich did whatever it is he did for Freddie Mac, he has described it as historian services, which doesn`t seem to square with the pay scale, but that is how he describes it. When he did -- has done other consulting, for example, for pharmaceutical companies, with his health care group, is the -- is what is expected by the companies that are hiring him any different than what would be expected by hiring consulting and lobbying shop? Obviously, he`s not setting up individual meetings with members of Congress, but isn`t he getting the same kind of influence he`d be getting if he was lobbying? TUMULTY: They are very much. And as Newt Gingrich was explicit with me in my interview with him on this, they are very much expecting the kind of advice that will help them get their agenda, get their causes through Washington. And, you know, and there was also the whole for-profit health care think tank that Newt Gingrich had. He`s no longer associated with the Center for Health Transformation. You take a company like Novo Nordisk. It`s a company that puts together treatments for diabetes. They were paying $200,000 a year for six years to the Center for Health Transformation. What were they getting out of this? A lot of access, a lot of advice from Newt Gingrich. But he was also lending his name and his celebrity to some of their causes. He was the keynote speaker of their diabetes summit, and he was -- his name was on their press releases commending the company for being a leader in fighting diabetes. Again, these are all -- I mean, nobody is for diabetes, but these are all causes that whatever their other merits, they were good for Novo Nordisk`s bottom line. And you see this over and over again in these sorts of transactions. MADDOW: Karen Tumulty, national political correspondent at the "Washington Post" -- it`s nice to have you here on the show. Thank you very much for joining us tonight. Thanks for doing this reporting. TUMULTY: Thanks, Rachel. MADDOW: All right. Republicans oppose President Obama`s proposal for extending tax cuts. He`s for the tax cuts. They`re against the tax cuts. Republicans also planned push back against choco chip cookies, grandma and sunshine. That`s next with my guest, Bob Herbert. Please stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: All right. Check this out. This is on the White House Web site right now. It`s a political tool/warning/calculator that tells you how much it will cost you, personally, if Congress does not extend something called the payroll tax cut. It`s an interactive thing. You just click the button. You say whether you file your taxes as a single person or a married person. You enter your income in the little box and ta-da! In an example here, we found that a single person making $50,000 a year would have to pay $1,000 more next year if Congress does not extend the payroll tax holiday. This obviously is not just a calculator. This is raw politics -- notable mostly for the fact that Democrats don`t usually do raw politics this well. But also, Democrats are usually not the ones campaigning on taxes. Right now, we are in an upside-down, black is white, day is night moment where Republicans are about to be the ones fighting for higher taxes, and Democrats are the ones fighting to keep them low -- because apparently Republicans do want to raise this one kind of tax, even though they desperately want to be seen as the low taxes party. I mean, Republicans always want to be seen as the low tax party. But this year in particular, they really want to run on taxes specifically and on the economy more broadly. They`re not picking foreign policy to run on this year or being tough on crime or some other typical Republican turf. It`s taxes. That`s what they`re running on in 2012. The Republican half of the sad little failed supercommittee collectively writing an op-ed for the "Washington Post," in which they blame the committee`s failure on the Democrats` insistence on raising taxes, which they, of course, would not do, because they are Republicans and they hate raising taxes. The closest thing we`ve seen so far to a national ad from the Republicans this election cycle is from one of the Karl Rove linked dark money groups. It is on taxes, taxes, taxes -- attempting to portray President Obama as a tax raiser. But here we are with a specific policy dilemma ahead of us. And Republicans seem to be the ones who want to raise the taxes. They want to get rid of a tax cut. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: If I may, Senator Kyl, just to cut this short, are you saying no deal on extending the payroll tax cuts? SEN. JON KYL (R), ARIZONA: The payroll tax holiday has not stimulated job creation. We don`t think that is a good way to do it. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That was Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona. The same Jon Kyl of the "we didn`t make a supercommittee deal because we wouldn`t go along with the horrible Democrats and their tax raising." Only now, he`s saying, yes, this other tax, let`s go ahead and raise that one. So, what is different about this one tax compared to all the other ones that Jon Kyl and friends complained about in their op-ed, why are they willing to lot this one tax go up but not capital gains, dividends, death tax -- as well as marginal tax rates, all these other things they complained about? Why don`t Republicans want to protect this other tax cut the way they want to protect those other tax cuts? What makes this one tax so distinctive? Why do they want to see it go up? Well, it`s a payroll tax. So, take your pick. Maybe they want to see this one go up because it`s a tax on paychecks. That means it`s a tax cut that`s not just for rich people. It`s for regular people. That`s one way it`s different from a lot of those tax cuts Republicans are speaking up for. Alternatively, this is a tax cut President Obama supports which, of course, makes it intrinsically evil, not to mention Kenyan. So, which of those is the principle behind the Republican opposition here? It`s still almost a year before the election and there`s a lot of governing to be done, a lot of policy to be made because the country needs governing and the country needs policy. But we are now officially into the time period, during which politics and policy are intertwined. And so, the decision that Republicans make in Congress about how to handle the payroll tax cut, whether they keep it going or whether they work against Democrats and raise taxes on everybody earning a paycheck in this country, that decision reflects on the rest of the party in the time when the "Manchester Union Leader" says they have not endorse Mitt Romney and the paper`s publisher said by way of explanation. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MCQUAID: I think it`s going to be Obama`s 99 percent versus the 1 percent and Romney sort of representing the 1 percent. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Romney representing the 1 percent -- seen as a problem for the Republican Party by that very conservative newspaper publisher. Of course, if the Republican Party is at a place where if the Romney is not Mitt Romney, it looks like it might be the guy with the half million dollar revolving account at Tiffany`s. It`s a place where today`s big political process stories that the billionaire who said President Obama trying to close the tax loophole that lets hedge fund billionaires to be taxed at 15 percent was like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939. Today, the big political process story of the day was that that guy, the Obama is like Hitler guy, has decided to throw down for Mitt Romney, holding a fund-raiser for him next month -- thus bringing America the heartwarming tale of investment zillionaires sticking up for private equity fund zillionaires, as the big Republican politics news story of the day. In the race to represent the party that only wants to hike taxes on people who work for a paycheck, if that is what defines the Democratic Party right now, what defines the Republican Party right now? And do these guys in congress know how it`s going to reflect on the presidential race? Joining us now is Bob Herbert, former columnist for "The New York Times," currently a senior distinguished fellow at Demos, and a contributor to and the "American Prospect." Mr. Herbert, wonderful to have you here. BOB HERBERT, DEMOS: It`s great to be here, Rachel. This is unbelievable, right? MADDOW: Yes. HERBERT: I mean, it`s just -- one, Newt Gingrich as representative of the common man. I mean, I think that`s great, too, the 99 percent. But, you know, hypocrisy is the default position of the GOP. It`s insane. And the first place, they`re the ones who are always screaming about the deficit, deficit, deficit, but they always want tax cuts. I mean, how do you -- how do you jive that? But now, you know, a tax cut for the middle class? Excuse me, that`s no good. MADDOW: The middle class tax cut is -- there was actually a divide right down the middle at our staff meeting today. We were talking about what might reasonably explain this. Because Jon Kyl`s explanation, he`s perfectly explained both sides of it. He`s perfectly explained why Republicans are for a payroll tax cut and why they`re against it. So, he automatically cancels himself out and can`t be trusted to give a real answer. So, what could be the -- what could be the reason? I mean, the obvious partisan reason is that because President Obama supports it, they`re against it as a knee jerk reaction. Is it possible that they are against it because it would help the middle class? HERBERT: Yes. I think that`s it. I mean, they are fundamentally the defenders of the rich. No one really wants to talk about it as bluntly as that, although many people actually understand that. So they want tax cuts for the very wealthy. It`s why the Bush tax cuts were skewed the way they were. The Bush tax cuts could have been more fairly apportioned. You could have had bigger tax cuts for the middle class and not quite so large for the very wealthy, but that`s not the way they skewed it. They are the defenders of the 1 percent -- very often the 0.1 of 1 percent. MADDOW: The best way to help, even if your agenda, though, was to help the 0.1 of the 1 percent, that you were out there for the Pete Du Ponts of the world, right? You`re really out there because you`re worried about Steve Forbes. HERBERT: Right. MADDOW: Even if you wanted to do that -- I mean, obviously you want to keep tax -- you want to keep taxes very low for not only just for high income but for all the different ways rich people earn their income. HERBERT: Right. MADDOW: Things like deferred interest and all of that stuff that affects the way that hedge funders pay their taxes. But you also want the overall economy to be growing. I mean, when the middle class does better, rich people do better, too. And so is it -- why would they be against a middle class, something that would help them? HERBERT: This is the part that`s a little difficult for me to understand. I remember doing an interview with President Clinton back in the late `90s. And people were getting on his case. There was a whole tax issue going. But the very wealthy were being very critical of President Clinton. This is late in his presidency. And he said to me, we`re in the back of the limousine on the way to the airport in Los Angeles, and he said to me, almost like musing, you know, not as part of the interview. He says, you know, I made a lot of money for those fellows as well, you know? Why are they so hard on me? And the very wealthy did extremely well during the Clinton administration. The economy did not do well even before the great recession under George W. Bush Jr. But they don`t seem to get that. They have this short-term thinking, I want as much as I can get now. I want -- I don`t want to pay taxes. I don`t want to think about the economy in more than the short term. It seems somewhat bizarre to me. I mean, one of the things that`s really extremely hard to understand is why they don`t want to do more about employment. Because, you know, everybody`s going hara, hara, there have been sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and that sort of thing. Well, that is how you get the economy moving, if you go put some money into the pockets of working people -- it pumps up the economy and everyone does better including the very wealthy. But they don`t seem to see it that way. MADDOW: Are Democrats effectively taking the other side of this argument? HERBERT: I actually think Democrats have been a lot more aggressive lately than I`ve seen them in a long time. Dems are finally beginning to fight back. Now, will they sustain it? I don`t know. But, you know, it`s good to see it at least in the short term. MADDOW: If you did not -- I don`t know if you caught it tonight, but Chuck tonight, earlier tonight earlier on Ed Schultz. HERBERT: I did see Chuck. Chuck was excellent. MADDOW: If you did not see the Chuck Schumer appearance on Ed Schultz tonight, watch it on the repeat of Ed tonight or podcast it. It was really good if you`re looking for the example of the kind of thing Bob is talking about. Bob Herbert, thank you for being here. It`s always really nice to have you here. HERBERT: Great to see you. MADDOW: Bob Herbert, I should say is not only a former columnist of "The New York Times," currently a distinguished senior fellow at Demos, contributor to and to the "American Prospect." All right. Just ahead, Republican presidential contender Buddy Roemer will be my guest for the interview. I`m very pleased to have him on the program. Governor Roemer has never appeared on other TV shows to accuse me of ducking him or claiming that I`m afraid of him. Unlike another certain Republican candidate from this year who is no longer in the race, a man I could mention. His initials are Tim Pawlenty. But I`ll talk about that later. Thanks. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Election season is almost here finally, and boy is the race close. According to the latest polling information out tonight, the space shuttle with flowers on it is out in front, the guitar is in second place. And I wouldn`t count out the soccer ball just yet. The stove and the traffic light meanwhile are in the low single digits. The best new thing in the world tonight is coming up, and a deadly serious and sort of inspiring politics story turns out to have a weird feel of detailed pictograms that you need to be able to look at in order to explain it. Best new thing in the world today, that is coming up. Plus, which Republican presidential contender is talking smack about this show in a way that he cannot back up? That`s ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: I never really do this, but I have got to say this. If I don`t say it on purpose and deliberately, I know this is one of those things I`m just going to blurt out. I can tell. So, I`m going to say it now. A couple weeks ago, one of this year`s Republican presidential candidates said on this network that he and I should get it on. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TIM PAWLENTY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Tell Rachel Maddow that -- LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: She`s listening. PAWLENTY: -- she`s been afraid of me. She used to have me on her show and she`s ducking me, bobbing, weaving. And, you know, I always said, look, I don`t agree with her. But I always thought she was bold and courageous and even though I disagreed with her. Now, she`s ducking me. So, tell her to come out and let`s have it on. Let`s get it on. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Let`s. And I would love to. And I would do if you weren`t smack without any intention of backing it up, sir. Tim Pawlenty, as governor of Minnesota, was a guest on this show a number of times in 2008 and in 2009. I always enjoyed him as a guest. I always appreciate when Republican elected officials are willing to talk to me. It was fun. It was fun for me. I think it was fun for him. At least that`s what he said all four times he was on this show. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: Governor Pawlenty, it`s a pleasure to have you on the show tonight. Thank you so much for being with us. PAWLENTY: Well, Rachel, thanks for giving a Republican a shot on the show. We appreciate it. MADDOW: Absolutely. I keep asking. But you guys are so recalcitrant. That`s why we`re very happy to have you. PAWLENTY: I`m available. I`m available. MADDOW: Very good. Very good. Governor Pawlenty, it is very kind of you to make the time to be with us tonight. It`s hard for us to get Republicans to be on the show. I`m really glad you`ve decided to come back to us. PAWLENTY: I`m glad to be here. And you`re funny, Rachel. MADDOW: Thank you. It`s nice of you to say. Governor, it is kind of you to come back on the show. Thanks for joining us. PAWLENTY: Happy to do it. Thanks for having me. Dr. Maddow, good to be with you. And, of course, you`ve become a very student of the Coleman-Franken saga. That`s an impressive summary you`ve just ripped off there. MADDOW: Did I get the chronology correct, at least? It`s hard to keep track of. PAWLENTY: You did. I`m impressed. You know quite a bit about the case. (END VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: In the rough and tumble case of cable news, Governor Tim Pawlenty and me, we were like this. We were cordial. We exchanged pleasantries. No animosity, right? This also happens to be a hand gesture that a person makes behind their own back when they`re not telling the truth. Shortly after Governor Pawlenty and I had a good guest experience together, he started running for president for this current cycle, for 2012 campaign. His campaign tried to reinvent him as a politics equivalent of an action movie star, as a bit of a he-man. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PAWLENTY: If prosperity were easy, everybody around the world would be prosperous. If freedom were easy, everybody around the world would be free. If security were easy, everybody around the world would be secure. They are not. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Governor Pawlenty`s presidential campaign despite those awesome ads did not go that well. It never really went anywhere in the polls and he quit after the Ames, Iowa, straw poll in August. But even now that he`s just a surrogate for Mitt Romney, a man he spent years running against, Governor Pawlenty is sticking with he-man persona as best he can, at least on cable. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PAWLENTY: She`s ducking me. So, tell her to come out and let`s have it on. Let`s get it on. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: OK. That was "THE LAST WORD" with Lawrence O`Donnell in November 10th. Thinking there must have been some mistake, some misunderstanding, I had our booking producer call him the very next day -- hey, we saw you on Lawrence, we`d love to have you on the show. We haven`t been ducking you. Spokesperson for Governor Pawlenty says, sorry, but the governor is traveling this week and next, but the governor will look at his calendar and to see when he`s available. Week and a half goes by, we heard nothing. November 21st, we called back, asked the spokesman again if Governor Pawlenty might be available sometime soon to, as he put it, get it on. No response. Then, again, today, our spokesperson called the office to find out when we`re going to get it on since he`s pounding his chest on TV and saying I`m ducking him -- no answer. No reply. Former governor and former presidential candidate, Tim Pawlenty is going to be here at MSNBC tonight, right here on MSNBC, but not talking with me. He will be visiting again with Lawrence O`Donnell on "THE LAST WORD" again tonight -- which means you should definitely watch "THE LAST WORD" with Lawrence O`Donnell" tonight. It should be great. It also means that Tim Pawlenty may play a tough guy politics action hero on TV who wants to get it on and all that, but apparently when he says that, he`s just kidding. Governor Pawlenty, you say I`m ducking you, but at this point, I`m rubber, you`re glue. Stop talking smack if you can`t back it up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) PAWLENTY: I`m here. I`m here. MADDOW: This doesn`t count. PAWLENTY: Are you ready? MADDOW: You busy later? PAWLENTY: I got to do Lawrence`s show, but I`m ready. MADDOW: We`ll talk. We`ll work it out. Now, you`re here. PAWLENTY: Thank you. MADDOW: Sure. (LAUGHTER) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Usually, I always think, you know, birds of a feather flock together. BUDDY ROEMER (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, I hear you. That`s called prejudice. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, no. It`s not, because I go by people`s actions. And actions -- ROEMER: Look at mine. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your party. But you`re affiliated with that party. ROEMER: Look at mine. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The actions with your party, though -- ROEMER: Look at mine. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- are oppressive to people, to working class people, the poor people, the minority people, to women. What are you going to do about that? What are you going to do different? Are you pro-choice? ROEMER: No. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, I just -- ROEMER: We`re going to disagree on some things, but here`s why I`m here. We agree on the main thing. You have to cut off the money. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer has run essentially a single-issue campaign this year. His signature issue, almost his whole deal is getting big money out of politics. Stopping billionaires and rich corporations from having outsized influence in our democracy-- yes, he`s running as a Republican. And for the single-minded focus, Mr. Roemer has received single-digit support from Republican voters, often 1 percent, sometimes less than that. Buddy Roemer was an early and outspoken supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement. He`s visited Occupy sites in New York and in Washington, D.C., asking people he met there for their support and that makes him essentially the only Republican presidential contender even trying to talk to constituencies outside the liberal base -- excuse me, the Republican base, or to people for whom they`d like to sell their books or DVDs, which is another way to approach campaigning. Yesterday, Mr. Roemer announced his pick for a vice presidential running mate. And although the announcement came from an ambitiously cross partisan place, Mr. Roemer`s pick was frankly a politician who is short to win almost nobody`s heart -- Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, a former Democrat who has now decided not to run again for his own senate seat, let alone for anything else. Quoting Mr. Roemer, "I`m asking independent minded voters to imagine what we can accomplish with this ticket. Americans are justifiably frustrated with their politicians and parties. Joe and I could change that. To me, it`s a dream team." Aside from Mr. Roemer`s own political fortunes, the main problem with the dream team idea is that nobody asked Joe Lieberman to imagine what the Roemer/Lieberman ticket could do. That left to the conservative magazine, "The Weekly Standard" to ask Senator Lieberman about it. Senator Lieberman spokesman responded with a no, saying the senator has been there, done that and has the t-shirt and chad to prove it. Joining us tonight for the interview is Republican presidential candidate and former governor of Louisiana, Buddy Roemer. Mr. Roemer, thank you for coming on the show. It`s nice to see you again. ROEMER: Thanks, Rachel. Good to be back. MADDOW: Did you and Tim Pawlenty bond backstage while he and I were having -- ROEMER: He`s coming after you, Rachel. MADDOW: Yes. Well, we`ll see. ROEMER: Do not be afraid. MADDOW: You know? I`m not. (LAUGHTER) MADDOW: All right. I do not know how to run for president obviously. So caveat emptor. ROEMER: Me either. MADDOW: Well, the Connecticut for Lieberman Party doesn`t seem like your ticket at the top. This is not a big -- (LAUGHTER) ROEMER: Well, it was an idea. The idea is that maybe what America needs is not a party, but a country built from the center. And maybe men and women with different backgrounds, but the same belief in America, could join a unity party and pull this country together. I think we`re in trouble. I think we`re headed in the wrong direction. Look at the debt. Look at the lack of jobs. Look at the lack of diversity. Look at the difference between the top 1 percent and the bottom 95. You saw the "Union Leader." They won`t take Mitt Romney because he represents the top 1 percent. So what do they get? They got the lobbyist for the top 1 percent. They really got some distance. We`re in trouble, Rachel. And it`s not just my party. Both parties are together in one thing. They will take any check from any place to get re-elected. It`s not right and it`s not healthy, Rachel. MADDOW: You have been running, as I said, I don`t mean to belittle your candidacy this way. I mean it as a compliment. You have been running on a strong single issue candidate, trying to get this issue of money and politics into at least the discussion in this campaign. But it`s not happening. ROEMER: No debates. I haven`t been on a single debate. You say I have 1 percent or 2 percent in the polls -- 2 percent has been my tops last week. One out of 50 Americans. You know how many Americans know I`m running, less than 10 percent. I mean, I can`t get on the debate. Would you think if you and I started a year ago, would you think a man who has been a four-time elected congressman, who`s been elected a governor, who`s built a billion dollar bank with the help of others but no help from the federal government, a successful businessman. Do you think a man who talks about a leader that needs to be free -- do you think he would get on a debate? I have not been asked to a single debate. I have been a Republican for 20 years. I tried to build my party or help build it in Louisiana. I`m proud of my record, but I cannot get on a debate when others who have no political experience at all -- I mean, there`s a pizza guy on the debate. Not to put Herman Cain down. But my God, you are running for president, should some experience count? You know what they don`t want to hear, Rachel? They don`t want to hear about the money. Neither party does -- Republicans, particularly. The only ones asked are the ones that raise a lot of money in the last 90 days. Do you know that was a criterion for the last debate? Did you raise $500,000 in the last 90 days? Is that the way you pick a president, Rachel? MADDOW: When I think about your effort and who you are talking to and the different constituencies you have chosen to address with the different things you have done, what I`m wondering is whether you think there is an audience among conservative voters who make up the electorate for GOP primary, whether conservatives want to hear about money and politics or -- ROEMER: We don`t. MADDOW: You don`t know. ROEMER: You don`t know, Rachel. MADDOW: Of all the Republican candidates, all of the big candidates, all have dark money behind hem. All of them. ROEMER: all of them. MADDOW: Not a peep from the voters about this. ROEMER: Not a peep, because no one has raised the issue. It`s a catch-22. Unless you walk in the room and say there`s a fire here, nobody knows the room`s burning. They just know there are a million and half fewer jobs than there were 12 years ago. They know we`re one of the lowest countries in the industrial world with the difference between those at the top and those at the bottom. They know we`re in trouble, but they are not sure where to look. The room`s on fire. I`m looking at Americans Elect, a unity group outside of the Republican Party who would go right to independents and Republicans and liberals and conservatives who put their country first. I plan on announcing as a candidate for that ticket. I`m a Republican, but I`m a prouder American. I`ll stay in the Republican primary and do all I can, but I need a stage to talk about what`s really wrong with America, Rachel. And what`s wrong is this -- a big check gets first in line and everybody else is forgotten. It`s not right. MADDOW: Are you staying in this no matter what happens? How long can you stay in? ROEMER: I`m going as far as I can. I have gotten contributions from 50 states. I have raised a quarter million dollars at $60 the average gift. I`m free. If I can get an audience, we`ll see if this is an election issue. It ought to be. MADDOW: Former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer -- thank you for being here. If I put you on the spot with Governor Pawlenty backstage, I apologize for any personal front. But it`s really nice to have you back here, sir. I hope to see you again soon. Thanks. ROEMER: Glad to be here. MADDOW: Best new thing in the world coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Best new thing in the world today. What do you do if a good proportion of your population is illiterate but you don`t want that to be a barrier in participating in an election in your country? You want people to vote even if they cannot read. Now, this is not a hypothetical question. What you do if you are in this situation, if you are Egypt and you are holding your first national election since you ousted your dictator this spring, what you do is you use pictures. You assign each candidate in each party a picture, but not like a Republican elephant or a Democratic donkey, these are random images randomly assigned to each candidate in each party by Egypt`s supreme elections commission and it is random. So, each party is represented by something like a soccer ball or traffic light or an umbrella or a Viking ship. Now, if you get the Viking ship, you are probably psyched. I mean, that`s not bad. You are campaign on I`ll be a warrior for you or something? Or a camera, not necessarily bad -- it could mean I`m for free speech. It could also mean yea surveillance. I`m not sure about the space shuttle with flowers on it, what that`s supposed to symbolize -- although various reports today have said that an Egyptian colloquially slang rocket means hottie. And there`s the toothbrush for brushing out the corruption. Egypt has been using a pictorial system on its ballot since the 1950s, although Egypt`s overall track record for using pictorial symbols goes back a lot, lot longer than that. But for today and tomorrow`s historic high turn out, high participation, post-dictator election in Egypt, to have to come up with 250 symbols meaning somebody got to be a pyramid, and somebody else got stuck being a blender. Egypt`s historic elections and the opportunity it affords to cast your ballot for the Viking ship or the blender, best new thing in the world today. Now, it is time for "THE LAST WORD" with Lawrence O`Donnell. Good evening, Mr. O`Donnell. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END