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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 12/12/11

Guests: Scott Henry, Steve Clemons, Jeffrey Rosen, Valerie Kaur

ED SCHULTZ, "THE ED SHOW" HOST: And before we go, another reminder, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi will be our exclusive guest Thursday night here on "THE ED SHOW." That`s it for "THE ED SHOW." I`m Ed Schultz. Melissa Harris-Perry is filling in for Rachel tonight. Melissa, great to have you with us. MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, GUEST HOST: Thanks, Ed. Appreciate it. And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour. Rachel has the night off. And we`re going to start with the thought experiment. Imagine if you will a candidate for the president of the United States, with a personal and professional resume that looks something like this: was born in a medium-sized American city, but spent most of his formative years growing up overseas; was raised in a sort of nontraditional family, without his biological father. Became a success in politics later in life mostly on the strength of his speeches, his reputation as a great orator, is often viewed somewhat derisively as a brainy professorial type, likes to compare himself to Lincoln; is someone who is privately religious and at that religion at times has been the focus of his candidacy. Imagine a candidate for president like that. Grew up abroad. Great speech maker. Likes to compare himself to Lincoln, has religious beliefs that raise questions for opponents and sort of professorial. Anyone in particular come to mind? Anyone fit that description? Three weeks from tomorrow is the first voting contest of the 2012 Republican presidential season. Three weeks from tomorrow, Republican voters all across Iowa will descend on high school gymnasiums and middle school libraries to choose a candidate they want to represent the Republican Party in 2012. Two nights ago, those candidates, the ones who are left or right, anyway, took the stage in Des Moines, Iowa, to start making their closing arguments to Iowa Republicans. The next voting contest after Iowa, of course, is New Hampshire. And today in Manchester, New Hampshire, there was another debate of sorts. Republican front-runner Newt Gingrich and New Hampshire`s newest permanent resident Jon Huntsman went head to head on the issue of foreign policy. So, with three weeks to go until the voting finally begins on the Republican side, here`s how things look. Pretty much all Newt Gingrich all the time. Mr. Gingrich now leads the entire Republican field by 10 points in the latest national Gallup tracking poll. And it`s the same story in the state of Iowa. A new poll released today by the University of Iowa shows Newt Gingrich now 10 points ahead of rival Mitt Romney in the Hawkeye State. With the first voting set to begin, Republican primary voters across the country now seem to be settling on their candidate of choice. And as we`ve seen across this election cycle, as we`ve seen over the last three years, there`s one thing that Republican primary voters are clear about: even if they`re not quite sure what they`re looking for in a candidate, they know there are some candidates -- qualities in a candidate that definitely, definitely turn them off: things like being professorial, intellectual, who give great speeches, who touts his background as someone who spent his early years in another part of the world, who compares himself to Lincoln, who tells these supposedly heart-tugging stories about his difficult childhood, whose faith claims cannot clearly be pinned down. Whatever Republican primary voters want, they don`t want that, they don`t want that. That doesn`t work. Republicans are suspicious of those attributes. And they`re suspicious of those attributes because someone who has that sort of upbringing, who grew up abroad and spent his life in academia, that sort of person ends up being in favor of things like universal health care, or government regulations of corporations, gays in the military and a government role for boosting the economy? Republican primary voters have seen what that sort of background brings, and they don`t like it. They know what it leads to. And that`s why at this stage in the game in the 2012 race, Republican primary voters have chosen as their presidential front-runner, the man who shares nearly the same background, a man who was born in Pennsylvania but spent his formative years growing up in France. A man who is raised in a nontraditional family by his stepfather, not his biological father. A man who rose to prominence in American politics as a great speech maker, a great debater, a man who describes himself not as a politician but rather a professorial historian type who likes to compare himself to Abraham Lincoln and whose conversion to Catholicism in recent years has been the subject of questions on the campaign trail. Republicans are sure they don`t want someone with President Obama`s background, yet they are now in the process of choosing someone with President Obama`s background. The rise of Newt Gingrich in this Republican presidential primary is something that almost nobody saw coming. Most of the smart money was on someone like Rick Perry, somehow coming back to life and posing a late challenge to Mitt Romney, especially in Iowa. Yet here we are. Republican primary voters who are against evil, unconstitutional government mandates when it comes to health insurance are now for a guy who once endorsed those sorts of mandates. Republican primary voters who are against government solutions on climate change are now for a guy who once endorsed government solutions on climate change. Republican primary voters who are supposedly sick of Washington politicians who want an outsider now are for a guy who spent the last three decades of his life in Washington? And Republican primary voters whose one goal is to replace a guy who grew up abroad, who gives good speeches, who`s too professorial are for a guy who grew up abroad, gives good speeches and is too professorial. How the heck did this happen? And how did Newt Gingrich make it happen? Joining me now to get to the bottom of this is Scott Henry, news editor of "The Atlanta News Weekly" "Creative Loafing." And Scott covered Newt Gingrich as a reporter for Gingrich`s hometown newspaper "The Marietta Daily Journal" when Gingrich was speaker of the House. Welcome, Scott. SCOTT HENRY, "CREATIVE LOAFING" NEWS EDITOR: Hello. HARRIS-PERRY: Hi. So, this really for me is fascinating. Now, obviously, Newt Gingrich and President Obama are not the same person. They don`t have exactly the same background. But the fact is Republicans are somehow now ending up with a front-running candidate who shares very similar attributes to the president that they have been very clear they want to get rid of. How did Newt Gingrich make this happen? HENRY: Well, I think there are two probably main aspects to Newt`s rise. One is that they burned through the rest of the GOP field. You`ve seen Rick Perry and Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann -- each have their moments of rise and descent in the polls. But Gingrich is someone who is much more even keeled, much more experienced. If people liked Mitt Romney better, maybe we wouldn`t be seeing this. And the other thing is, I think, that while Newt shares a lot of the attributes that you mentioned, one thing is he`s a fighter, and the Republicans know that and they like that. And I think they`re hedging their bets with someone they think might take the battle to the president. HARRIS-PERRY: So, is this in part, a sense that on the one hand, the Tea Party, in particular, and Republicans in general, are asking for an outsider? And yet here is Newt, the consummate insider. Is it in part this sense that, OK, we want an outsider, but the fact is in order to defeat President Obama, there`s this sense that you actually need those same attributes? The other smart guy in the room? HENRY: You know, a number of the people that I talk to for a recent story I did, and I went back and talked to people who had worked with him when he was speaker, worked with him before he was speaker. They`re very surprised. They didn`t see this coming. And I think that, yes, they -- people -- they imagine that people are out there kind of thinking, this guy is going to be able to go head to head with the president at the debates. He knows the lay of the land. I think many of the Tea Party people who wanted the outsider are modifying what they want. They realize there`s no one else who`s running for president who fits that mold. HARRIS-PERRY: Now, Scott, I have to say, I read the pre-interview that you had with one of the Maddow staff producers and I got a chill because the language you used is that he is the Karl Rove candidate. In other words, that electing him would be like electing Karl Rove as president. What do you mean by that? HENRY: Well, he has always been a master strategist. He`s someone who -- someone was telling me recently that he had actually never really seen himself -- or in the early days, at least -- rising quite as high as he had. He always saw himself as the strategist in the backroom who`s kind of helping his party gain the majority, helping his party elect presidents. And yet his own articulateness and ambition drove him ever to new heights. But he is someone who has always had been thinking one step ahead and figuring out how to -- how to damage the other party, how to push his party ahead. He`s obviously incredibly partisan. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. HENRY: And is Karl Rove -- is like Karl Rove in that aspect. I think I called him recently, one of the fathers of modern wedge politics. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. HENRY: It -- I`m not sure. I can`t predict what kind of president he would be. Whether he would leave that behind after having won an election, or whether he would work that to further benefit. Obviously, you remember Rove wanted to install a Republican majority for the foreseeable future. That didn`t quite work out. HARRIS-PERRY: Well -- so, Scott Henry, thank you so much. Obviously, in being the grandfather or godfather of American wedge politics, quite different from President Obama in that sense. HENRY: Right. HARRIS-PERRY: Scott Henry, news editor of "Atlanta News Weekly" "Creative Loafing," and former "Marietta Daily Journal" reporter, watcher of Newt Gingrich for many years. Thanks for joining us. HENRY: Thank you. HARRIS-PERRY: So, for Newt Gingrich, is there a world outside the fabulous world of Newt and his K Street address? Oh, my, yes, there is. And the view of that wide, wide world happens to be informed by the foreign policy stylings of Rick Santorum. That amazing account of the facts is coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Right at the end of the show today is our best new thing in the world, and it`s a special South Pole edition. And until then, imagine penguins. Stick around. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: At the height of the nearly nine-year war in Iraq, there were 170,000 American troops stationed in Iraq. By the end of this month, there will be zero. Not a single member of the United States military will be stationed in Iraq. They`re leaving at a break-neck pace of literally hundreds of troops a day. The few U.S. bases that remain look like this. Vacant lots of abandoned vehicle, empty housing containers, more of a ghost town than a battlefield, more of a desert that a bustling military installation, more of an exit than an occupation. The end of this war will be final and complete. But it`s not pretty. And perhaps because it lacks the grandeur of V-Day half century ago it`s easy to overlook the magnitude of this moment. In Washington today, President Obama met with the Iraqi prime minister to commemorate, my word, not theirs, the end of the war. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a historic moment. A war is ending. A new day is upon us. And let us never forget those who gave us the chance, the untold number of Iraqis who have given their lives. More than 1 million Americans, military and civilian, who have served in Iraq, nearly 4,500 fallen Americans who gave their last full measure of devotion, tens of thousands of wounded warriors and so many inspiring military families. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: As a candidate, Barack Obama`s campaign in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary will always be remembered for and defined by his opposition to the war in Iraq. And thanks in part to that anti-Iraq war position, he won the Democratic primary. Four years later, foreign policy isn`t playing a huge role in the Republican presidential primary, even though we still got another war going on in Afghanistan, a secret drone war in Pakistan, and unacknowledged drone war in Yemen and Africa and who knows where else. Foreign policy just hasn`t been part of the discussion much. And that is much to Newt Gingrich`s chagrin. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe that one of the great weaknesses of the campaign up to now, the debates up to now, has been the absence of the serious discussion about the nature of the world, the nature of the world market, the nature of those challenges we face and the nature of America`s role in that world. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: America`s role in the world is very important to Newt Gingrich, so important, in fact, that in just the last week, he`s gotten a lot of attention for saying things about foreign policy and diplomacy and how and who should represent America in the world. And these have been defining moments for his campaign. So, for example, Mr. Gingrich inspired a flurry of e-mails around this office for wanting to appoint as secretary of state, John Bolton, the Bush administration`s representative to the United Nations who was so radical and unpopular even Republicans in the Senate refused to vote to confirm him. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GINGRICH: If he will accept it, I will ask John Bolton to be secretary of state. (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Previously, Mr. Gingrich praised Mr. Bolton calling him tough minded, which is a bit like saying a typhoon is mildly disruptive. And then there was the Republican debate this weekend in which candidates were asked to name one opponent they`ve learned something from. And before I play Newt`s answer, keep in mind that he names a guy who as we`re ending one war in the Middle East, wants to start another war in Iran. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GINGRICH: Rick Santorum`s consistency and courage on Iran has been a hallmark of if we do survive, it will be in part because of people like Rick who have had the courage to tell the truth about the Iranians for a long time. (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Newt admires the consistency and courage of a guy who would be open to waging war with Iran. And that`s not Newt`s only doomsday vision. Newt has long been obsessed with the science fictionist fear of electromagnetic pulse which is basically a nuclear weapon detonated in space that would send out tsunami-like wave of electricity knocking out everything electronic on earth, which, quote, "a number of scientists consider those concerns to be farfetched." But Mr. Gingrich`s most campaign defining moment on foreign policy, national security, or diplomacy may have happened over the weekend. And for that, I`d very much like to talk to a foreign policy expert. Let`s bring in Steve Clemons, Washington editor at large for "The Atlantic." Mr. Clemens, nice to see you. STEVE CLEMONS, THE ATLANTIC: Great to be with you again. HARRIS-PERRY: So, this weekend, Newt defended calling the Palestinians an invented people, and this is after being slammed from other GOP contenders for saying that during the debate. Now, were you more surprised by the comment, by the doubling down or by the reaction of the other candidates to this claim? CLEMONS: I was very disappointed by the candidate. First, I was disappointed by his ignorance, particularly after he had talked so passionately in a heartfelt way about those of Hispanic origin and descent that were living in gray areas of the United States. And, you know, you could somewhat callously say these, too, are an invented people. But in the Middle East, the Palestinians are not invented. I`ll use Elliott Abrams, one of George W. Bush`s Middle East advisers on the National Security Council, essentially paraphrasing, what planet is Newt on? That, you know, fundamentally, most of the Middle East was carved by the British after World War II in the deals. So, to some degree what he said about Palestinians was so uninformed that even the most right wing Republicans who have been very, very tied into this for a very long time, would arguably say are in a zero-sum game pro-Israel, disavowed Newt Gingrich`s comments. HARRIS-PERRY: Now, look, this was also surprising to me in part because Newt Gingrich often sort of presents himself as Professor Gingrich. And, you know, many peoples are invented. American peoples are invented from all of these different identities from which we come. So what is it? Is there a signal that he is meaning to send to Republican primary voters with that assertion? What is it that he wants them to hear when he -- CLEMONS: I think we`re in an era right now where I think Newt Gingrich in this particular case and other candidates have done the same thing, have been trying to reach out to those who give a lot and some degree the Republican Party is right now in a competitive race with the Democratic Party trying to act as if it is the party that can deliver most closely on what it sees as Israel`s interests. What`s very sad about this is that Israel`s real interest in the long run are becoming connected with its neighborhood, and getting that neighborhood to end, to some degree, the hostility towards it, and that animating and flaming, the fires of antagonism between Arabs and Muslims on one side and Israelis on another is in many cases a fund-raising tactic and I think it`s got to stop. But that`s what Newt was trying to do in this case. And I think it shows that in this particular case, he`s clearly running for president, but he`s not demonstrating his role as a strategist, as somebody sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office making very complex choices between America`s interests abroad and sorting out its allies and how it needs to encourage them to move into a more stable situation. HARRIS-PERRY: Well, and so it feels to me like these incendiary comments about the Palestinian people, and then also this sort of, you know, odd doomsday scenarios that Mr. Gingrich often presents, particularly the electronic, you know, electromagnetic pulse. CLEMONS: Something out of the Cold War. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. Right. Is there some kind of fear mongering that he is expecting to work strategically going on here? CLEMONS: I`ve known Newt Gingrich since 1994, not particularly well. He was on the board of the Nixon Center and part of Newt Gingrich is a realist and part of him is tied up and distracted by exotic ideas. And I think, one of them, the notion you can have an electromagnetic pulse is actually scientifically correct. We could all go back to vacuum tubes as we once thought about during the Cold War to kind of keep ourselves from being vulnerable to that. But it`s so beyond the kind of regular experience. It raises fundamental questions, again, about how he would think about war and conflict and setting up systems where the United States can pursue its interests boldly and where its vulnerabilities are. And if we have a kind of, you know, professor, who`s distracted by something that`s so exotic and so potentially alien to anything that`s real, it raises fundamental questions about how good a strategist he`ll be and do you trust this guy to have his finger next to the nuclear football? I think it`s raised a lot of doubts about Newt Gingrich. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, it certainly makes me anxious. Steve Clemons, Washington editor at large for "The Atlantic" and editor in chief of "Atlantic Live" thanks for joining us tonight. CLEMONS: Great to be with you. HARRIS-PERRY: Thanks. Newt Gingrich or no Newt Gingrich? There are events in Washington now schedule for next summer that could determine who wins the presidency next fall and I`ll have that. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: The great Republican overreach of 2011 has stretched out all over the nation from Wisconsin to Ohio to Florida and Arizona. There`s one place it hasn`t shown up yet and that is about to change. The Supreme Court today agreed to hear an emergency appeal on Arizona`s "papers please" immigration law, SB-1070, after parts of the bill were blocked by a federal appeals court earlier this year. Now, the most infamous of those four blocked provisions is the part of the law that would allow law enforcement to request anyone they stop or arrest must prove their citizenship. If they suspect for whatever reasons, reasons like style of dress or accent in English or content, that that person might be an illegal immigrant. So, although the White House said they`re looking forward to arguing the case before the Supreme Court, this is a bit of a setback for the Obama administration`s quest to limit SB-1070. But where the real impact may be felt is in the president`s 2012 re-election effort. Remember, the court has already agreed to hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of President Obama`s health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act. That will happen in March. And last week the Supreme Court also agreed to hear another case that will determine how congressional districts in Texas will be drawn. All three rulings will come down before the session ends at the end of June. You know, June, right? Right before the two parties hold their summer nominating conventions -- which means the Supreme Court decisions will highlight health care reform and immigration as campaign issues for the general election. Now, I suspect GOP operatives are preparing their attack ads against the president no matter which way the Supreme Court rules. But these cases will impact much more than this election cycle, these decisions will have far-reaching consequences because they are about a fundamental constitutional issue -- the Commerce Clause of our Tenth Amendment. Now, don`t zone out on me. This Commerce Clause is a big deal. How the Supreme Court interprets this clause is at the heart of states` rights arguments. It`s the thing that maintained the 1964 Civil Rights Act when a motel in Georgia, the Heart of Atlanta Motel, sued for the right to discriminate against African-Americans. It`s a thing that supports requirement that sex offenders register themselves so you know when they are moving into your state. Now, the news isn`t all good, though, on this Commerce Clause. Three cases in the last decade and a half have actually restricted the federal government`s regulation capacity. And those cases involve things like protecting against guns in schools, gender-based violence, and, oh, yes, clean water. So, when you see the Supreme Court about to take up cases where the Commerce Clause is at stake, pay attention. Will the states be able to make what amounts to federal law as far as immigration is concerned? Does the federal government have the right to mandate that you and I purchase health insurance? And what effect will each of these have on the politics of our coming year? And joining us now to talk about this is Jeffrey Rosen, professor of law at George Washington University and legal affairs editor at "The New Republic." Professor, thanks for joining us tonight. JEFFREY ROSEN, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Thanks for having me. HARRIS-PERRY: Now, I know your work on this question, and I`m particularly interested in how you see this Supreme Court making its decisions on the health care reform and Arizona SB-1070 law. What is at stake for these decisions? ROSEN: Well, the stakes couldn`t be higher. And they really involve the basic contours of federal versus state power. It`s the central issue in the presidential election. You have most of the main Republican candidates insisting on a smaller federal government. And here so starkly, you have the Obama administration begging the Supreme Court not to hear a case that might reverse in Arizona a court`s decision not to allow this Arizona law to go into effect. And then you got to challenge the central pillar of Obama`s health care law. So, really, we`ll find out by the end of June whether the court is willing to declare war against the president and radically restrict the scope of federal power or whether as I hope they`re actually going to take a moderate position and perhaps step back from the abyss. HARRIS-PERRY: Now, Professor, when you say declare war on the president and the administration here, this is really critical. When you were talking -- when you were writing about the debt ceiling debate, you wrote typically the Supreme Court does not like to take up issues that have major political impact. And yet they`re taking up these two that could have a huge impact in 2012. Does that tell you something different about this court? Does that tell you something about the likelihood of how they`re going to rule? What can we learn from this decision? ROSEN: It`s very interesting. In the Arizona case, they certainly didn`t have to take it. And because Justice Elena Kagan is recused, she can`t sit on it because she worked on the case as solicitor general. That means you could have a 4-4 tie, four conservatives against four liberals. If that happens the lower court decision stands, which means the Obama administration wins and the law doesn`t go into effect. But nevertheless, the fact that four justices wanted to hear the case, presumably four conservatives, suggests there might be four votes to rule in favor of Arizona. Health care is different. You have such a division among the lower courts. The Obama administration was begging the Supreme Court to resolve the uncertainty. So, the court had little choice but to take the case. But the fact that two conservative federal judges, very respected conservatives, have upheld the health care law recently, makes some people optimistic or at least cautiously optimistic that perhaps the Supreme Court will, in fact, uphold the individual mandate. HARRIS-PERRY: Now, I want to go back just for a moment to this Tenth Amendment point. Because, you know, the Commerce Clause sounds like it`s about something sort of boring and dry. And yet it seems like it`s at the core of so many of our basic civil rights and other issues. Can you once again just sort of help the viewers to understand why this clause is so critical? ROSEN: Absolutely. It`s not boring at all. It has to do with the basic contours of congressional power. Does Congress have the power to regulate the economy? To regulate guns and schools, as you said? And in this case, to pass the individual health care mandate? Ever since the New Deal period, the Supreme Court has said if something has even a small impact on the interstate commerce, Congress can regulate it. There are some people who want to change that. Justice Clarence Thomas takes a sort of Tea Party view, that would strike down a lot of federal regulatory agencies. But most conservatives on the court have rejected that view. They`ve said that Congress does have pretty broad power. And it was so interesting in these lower court opinions to see two very conservative judges saying, of course health care affects interstate commerce. It`s a multitrillion dollar industry. If people choose not to insure, they throw themselves on the market and that affects everyone else`s premiums. So, they found this to be an easy case within the Commerce Clause and that`s why they hope the Supreme Court will agree. HARRIS-PERRY: Jeffrey Rosen, professor of law at George Washington University and "New Republic" legal affairs editor -- thank you so much for taking the time to help us understand that. ROSEN: Thank you very much for having me. HARRIS-PERRY: With elections coming up, that must mean it`s time for busy fear mongering and scapegoating to begin, and the usual suspects get their usual unfair treatment. We`ll talk about that next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: The home improvement chain Lowe`s has decided to pull the plug on its advertising during a reality TV show because the show is too controversial. Now, it`s not a body reality show where 20 women date the same guy looking for true love in a hot tub or where the idol rich behave badly. No, no. The show that`s causing controversy is about a middle class Midwestern family trying to make it in America, which is to say Lowe`s home improvement chain pulled its money from something that ought to be the most Middle American thing out there. But it`s not, because of the identity of those whose story is being told. Now, you may have heard of it. It`s on TLC. It`s called "All American Muslim." In explaining why Lowe`s pulled out, in a statement, they read in part, "Lowe`s received a significant amount of communication on this program, from every perspective possible. And in individuals and groups have strong political and societal views on this topic and the program became a lightning rod for many of those views, and as a result we did pull our advertising on this program." What is the topic Lowe`s is referring to there, the topic on which people have strong political and societal views? The topic is being Muslim. They`re having views on living in Michigan and being Muslim. That is a topic on which people have opinions? Now, the folks at Lowe`s have decided they don`t want to be in the middle of a hot bed of discussion. And today in America, simply existing as Muslim is enough to create a hot bed of discussion. What`s important to recognize, though, is that Lowe`s is making this decision because we exist in a social and political world that makes just the experience of being Muslim a status offense. In America, in 2011, just being Muslim is, itself, controversial. Something people feel they should have opinions about. And any time your identity is something that is worthy of being shunned in public space, now, that`s a sign. That means we`re not in the land of ideological or partisan disagreement. We`re in the land of stereotyping and bigotry. We know that because we have experience with it. We`ve seen this photo of Elizabeth Eckford trying to walk to school in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957. She was a school kid trying to go to a public school in a town where her parents paid taxes. In Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957, that was controversial because of who she was. And we know that that`s what`s going on when someone`s identity is controversial. And that`s what`s going on right now with what should be an utterly noncontroversial reality show about a Midwestern family. It`s actually our broad climate of anti-Islamic rhetoric that creates the controversy. Just listen to what`s being said about Muslims in a political context. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) HERMAN CAIN (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The statement was, would I be comfortable with a Muslim in my administration. I would not be comfortable because you have peaceful Muslims and then you have militant Muslims, those that are trying to kill us. And so, when I said I wouldn`t be comfortable, I was thinking about the ones that are try to kill us. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We see an increasing number of Muslim youth radicalizing in America and attempting plots here in the U.S. or traveling abroad to join terrorist groups. REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: An ongoing effort to recruit and radicalize dozens of Muslim-American jihadists who pose a direct threat to the United States. NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have an invented Palestinian people. WOLF BLITZER, CNN: Who would be profiled? RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, the folks who are most likely to be committing these crimes. If you look, I mean, obviously, Muslims would be someone you`d look at. Absolutely. (END VIDEO CLIPS) HARRIS-PERRY: The message we`re getting is that it`s OK to profile Muslims. Why? Because Muslims are our enemy, just Muslims in general. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was on a flight to D.C. I had a woman sitting behind me say, see that veiled woman? I`m very uncomfortable. So, I turn around, I told her, you get your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off the plane because I have a meeting to get to, to educate people like you. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They make me feel like no matter what you do, you`ll always be a third class. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s a lot of people don`t know nothing about Islam. And they think all Muslim are the same. I hope people change attitude and accept a person for what he is. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have no concerns about traveling around the anniversary of 9/11. I don`t ever fly with fear. It`s annoying to walk through an airport and know people are looking at you. You know, open up and say, can I ask you, why are you wearing that thing on your head? (END VIDEO CLIPS) HARRIS-PERRY: In the 1950s and `60s, kids had to wear gauntlets to school because going to school was controversial because of what they were. And today, a home improvement store chain won`t advertise on a TV show about Middle American family because of who that family is. Joining us to talk about it is Valerie Kaur, the filmmaker behind the documentary, "Divided We Fall." Valerie is also director of Groundswell, an initiative devoted to build a multi-faith movement. Valerie, I`m so thrilled to have you at the table tonight. VALERIE KAUR, WRITER AND FILMMAKER: So am I. Thank you, Melissa. HARRIS-PERRY: So, I want you to back up a little bit. This feels to me like something that has been true for about a decade now. So, talk to me a little bit about your work around the immediate post-9/11 moment and this sort of anti-Islamic, anti-Muslim rhetoric. KAUR: We`ve lived in the shadow of 9/11 for a decade. It was in that moment that the world was divided into us and them. That as a 20-year-old college kid, I found myself, my family and thousands of other Muslims, South Asians, Arab, Latino Americans, suddenly found themselves on the wrong side of that line. We became automatically suspect, potentially terrorists, perpetually foreign. And what I noticed is that in the last 10 years, there have been resurgences of anti-Muslim rhetoric violence over and over and over again. What`s different about this moment is in a time of economic instability and in an election season, there are those who have realized they can use anti- Muslim bias as a tool of oppression, to gain political points, to gain a profit. That is what`s most troubling about where we are today. HARRIS-PERRY: Now, part of what I`ve been interested in your work, so you`re Sikh. And the work that you originally did post-9/11 was in part about anti-Sikh violence that was about sort of misrecognizing and people assuming men that with turbans, for example, were Muslim when in fact many of them were Sikh. So, I heard you talking about divisions. Is there some possibility of building coalitions around this kind of anti-Islamic discourse? KAUR: Yes, what I notice about what`s promising about today, is that there`s a groundswell of people out there, not just Muslim Americans, not just Sikh Americans, not just people of color, but a groundswell of Americans who are tired of a politics of fear. That we are hungry to see ourselves in one another in ways we haven`t before. In the last few years, I crisscrossed the country with my film. I`ve been to 200 American cities. And when people see a story of a Sikh family, remarkable things happened. You know, I remember an African-American man in Chicago standing up and pointing to his braids and saying, my braids are my turban. I remember a gay man here in New York City who stood up and said, just as I have to fight for the right of gays to come out of the closet. I have to fight for the right for Sikhs to wear turbans. What I discovered is that stories can save us. Stories can bring us hope and stories can make us human to each other. And "All American Muslim" is, you know, the quintessential American form of story-telling, a reality TV show, right? And they`ve done something and daring, as to show Muslim families as real people. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. KAUR: You know, this is the moment where we ought to stand up for this kind of story telling to sort of transform the social imagination that has held up Muslim Americans as Muslim terrorists for so long. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, I have to say, it never occurred to me that I would be supporting a reality TV show, but I got to say, I am there. Valerie, thank you so much for joining us tonight. KAUR: Thank you, Melissa. HARRIS-PERRY: Valerie Kaur, filmmaker, writer, and director of the multi-faith initiative Groundswell, which I`m affiliated with and think is an extraordinary, extraordinary opportunity for a new generation to do political work. Now, right after this on "THE LAST WORD," Lawrence O`Donnell is going to talk to Newt Gingrich`s former spokesman who is now asking for his old job back. Funny what resurgent poll numbers can do. Don`t miss that. And straight ahead, here, the best new thing. And despite having a stuffy nose, I`m going to be forced to say Stoltenberg. If you wonder if THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW staff is as nerdy as they seem, the answer is yes. Yes, they are. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: A quick programming note: Rachel is back tomorrow night with an exclusive interview with Vice President Joe Biden. That`s tomorrow right here, 9:00 Eastern. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: The Occupy Wall Street movement morphed into occupy Goldman Sachs today. Protesters left their base in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan and took their argument for economic justice straight to the investment bankers at Goldman Sachs. It was the beginning of a long day of direct action. On the West Coast, occupiers also targeted ports where Goldman Sachs had financial interests. They moved in by the hundreds, demonstrating at the shipping terminals in several cities -- in Houston and in Oakland, California, and Long Beach, California, and Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, and Long View, Washington. In some places, port management and labor unions agreed to send the union workers home to protect their health and safety. In Long View, the march of the 99 percent meant that workers left early with just four hours pay. A half day`s pay did not exactly leave these workers feeling empowered by the day`s events. In fact, one truck driver told Bloomberg, "I have bills to pay at home. And these people say they represent the 99 percent. They don`t represent me." The president of the Longshoreman Warehouse Union in southern California sent occupiers a clear message: Butt out, saying, "While there can be no doubt that ILWU shares the occupy movement`s concerns about the future of the middle class and corporate abuses, we must be clear that our struggle against port management is just that -- our struggle. There is real danger that forces outside ILWU will attempt to adopt our struggle as their own." The union telling Occupy essentially thanks but no thanks. Despite being run out of parks around the nation, the Occupy movement is not dead. Part of how you can tell it is still alive is because like all living movements, it is complicated. Hundreds of people turn up at your workplace to argue that you should have better working conditions. And as a result, you go home with less money and it`s the holidays. And so, you end up as irritated with the protesters as you are with the conditions they are protesting, even if they take up a collection for you. So, who is the 99 percent in this story? Is it the truck driver who can`t get through? The protesters whose families expected them to go to college? The ones who love to have a union job with the benefits and a little time off? Many people want to reduce what`s happening in this country to a class warfare argument. But it is too complicated for that. Like for instance Elizabeth Gilmore (ph). Now, she is in the new "Town and Country" magazine which is my favorite source for what the 1 percent is really thinking. Now, recently, I met Elizabeth and talked with her about her support of the Occupy Wall Street movement here in New York. And then I went to "Town and Country" today and saw her there. Now, she received a million dollar trust fund for her 21st birthday. And now, she is working to give it all away and to help other trust funders do the same. She is the 1 percent, but she is out there on the barricades with her sign. There are no simple solutions here. There aren`t even simple identities where everyone fits into a single category, 99 percent over here and 1 percent over there. Our identities as Americans cross those lines, cross many lines, for many of us, several times in the span of a single life. In fact, American Founding Father James Madison anticipated this complexity of ideas of interest in the "Federalist Paper 10". Madison believed that America will find strength and stability by embracing our complexity. Yes, we are the 99 percent. But the 99 percent is a diverse bunch and it turns out those 1 percent might be unpredictably interesting, too. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: The best new thing in the world today is a file of the sort of a RACHEL MADDOW SHOW story from a year and a half ago, in the spring of 2010. That`s when an unpronounceably named volcano in Iceland erupted. The ash cloud it sent over Europe stranded tens of thousands of people, including one head of state. THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW followed on his journey home. Here`s a reminder. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RACHEL MADDOW, HOST, "TRMS": Take for example the prime minister of Norway who got stuck in New York City. There`s a picture of him trying to run his government from the airport with the use of his new iPad. The prime minister did manage to get out of New York last night and he`s on a long strange trip home right now. First, he flew to Madrid. Then he hopped a flight from Madrid to Basel, Switzerland. Now he is traveling the rest of the way home by car with five other people. We`ve actually been in contact with one of the people who`s in the car with the Norwegian prime minister. Norway`s state secretary told us that they`re doing fine. They`re planning to stop in Germany overnight to rest. Tomorrow, they will press on to Oslo. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: That prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg, made it home. And he is still prime minister of Norway. And today, he is on an even more amazing journey. This one, however, on purpose, which made the staff here at the show think of starting a new segment. Can we do that when Rachel is not here? We`re going to do it where in the world is Jen Stoltenberg? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (MUSIC) ANNOUNCER: Jens Stoltenberg! (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: And the answer is Antarctica. The head of Norway`s government is at the South Pole right now and he`ll hang out there for a few days to mark the 100th anniversary of the first person to reach the South Pole. That would be fellow Norwegian Roald Amundsen who famously beat Captain Robert Scott in a race to the pole in just a few -- by just a few weeks. Now, the actual anniversary is in two days. So, Prime Minister Stoltenberg will have to hang out for a bit. But it looks like he is having fun because after all, it`s practically summer there. So, an important government official getting to cross a big one off his bucket list for his job the best new thing in the world today. Or maybe this is! (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (MUSIC) ANNOUNCER: Jens Stoltenberg! (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Rachel, that was not my idea. Your staff made me do it. And, oh, yes, speaking of where in the world, Tulane students, your professor may be in New York City but your final assignments are still due and I`m checking my inbox in five minutes. That does it for us tonight. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry. And as a reminder, Rachel will be back tomorrow with her exclusive interview with Vice President Joe Biden. And now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD" with Lawrence O`Donnell. Have a great night. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END