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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 01/11/12

Guests: Dave Weigel, E.J. Dionne

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Really? Look at the light. Look at the light. ED SCHULTZ, "THE ED SHOW" HOST: OK. OK. MADDOW: Are you really? SCHULTZ: No. Fun time. You know how it is. You know, when you get a little -- you wonder what kind of kill will this be like. Anyway, great time last night, again you did a super job of running the show, enjoyed it and it`s going to be very interesting in South Carolina to say the least. MADDOW: Thank you, Ed. Thank you very much. I will say with all John Sununu crock of crap thing, that even though he was totally wrong as you and Ezra just described, when people are totally wrong to our faces, I would hope they could all be as entertaining about it as John Sununu was. I mean, crock of crap is a great phrase, even if you`re totally wrong when you say it. SCHULTZ: That`s right. We`ll see you tomorrow night. THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now. MADDOW: I appreciate it, man. Thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour as well. In 2008, here`s how the Republican Party picked their nominee for president. Republicans knew coming in that race that they would have a candidate who ran for president -- does that work? Who ran for president, once before, and came in second place the last time he ran. A candidate with whom the Republican Party`s elite was very, very comfortable even though the Republican Party`s base did not like him very much. The Republicans look at that guy`s chances and they think, well, you know, maybe the elite is behind him but the party is not behind him. We can do better than that. So, you get this roster of all different kind of challengers. You get an under-funded but absolutely authentic social conservative guy -- a guy with unimpeachable social conservative religious credentials. But he`s not really taken very seriously other than social conservative issues. You also get the libertarian cause candidate. He`s got the old Pat Buchanan isolationist thing going on, which has some wide appeal, but mostly what he wants to talk about is stuff like getting rid of the Federal Reserve. While it doesn`t have a broad appeal, it is a message that appeals to some people, and it appeal to young people in particular -- which is important for Republicans. Then, you put another guy, who is absolutely offended -- you can tell -- that he`s not the choice of the Republican elite, right? He`s kind of an elder statesman, at least to the extent that he`s been around for a long time. He`s got name recognition. But he does have a little bit of a problem with the social conservatives because, among other things, he`s been married three times. So, there is the guy who is the choice of the elite. There`s all these various challengers. And the conservative base of the party looks to this group and thinks, none of these guys is that great. Frankly, we need somebody better who is still a conservative. We need somebody who checks more of the boxes for all the things we`re looking for in a conservative candidate. The right wing base, conservative base looks at this field and said we need a proven right wing star. And so, they get -- former TV star-turned-politician-presidential candidate Fred Thompson. Excuse me. Yes, Fred Thompson. Remember all the punditry about how sexy Fred Thompson was? Around the time he was getting in the race. He had so much movie star charisma. I realize this is not my area of expertise, but I never really got that about Fred Thompson. But people were at the time. You go back and you look at the way people talked about him, very excited about the prospect of Fred Thompson, including his animal magnetism, his physicality. Fred Thompson was the dream conservative candidate early in the primary process for 2008. And as the dream conservative candidate, as soon as Fred Thompson got in the race, he immediately rose right to the top of the national polls. But then almost instantaneously collapsed in the polls right after. His campaign just seemed lazy, he didn`t know what he was talking about. And, honestly, Fred Thompson was a little bit weird in debates. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would like to see a show of hands, how many of you believe global climate change is a serious threat and caused by human activity? FRED THOMPSON: I`m not doing hand shows today. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No hand shows. THOMPSON: No hand shows. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m with him. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that yes or no for you? Do you believe that global climate change is a serious threat and cause by human activity? THOMPSON: Do you want to give me a minute? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I don`t. THOMPSON: Then, I`m not going to answer it. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: No hand shows today. By the time the primaries roll around, that once upon a time supposed dream candidate, Mr. No-hand-shows today, he`s down to polling in single digits. Nobody is really taking him seriously. He is on the verge of being, in fact, a national laughing stock. The Website comes into being. You could check it now. By the time that it is time to vote, to finally vote in Iowa for the 2008 race, the huge surprise awesome Iowa showing of the night ends up being the social conservative guy, ends up being Mike Huckabee, right? Wow, this under-funded guy who nobody really takes seriously except on abortion and what is wrong with gay people, maybe he should be taken more seriously, maybe he can go the distance. He`s done well in Iowa. And that Iowa success for Mike Huckabee translates into essentially nothing for him in New Hampshire. And his campaign suffering from all of its old weaknesses, basically just goes back to puttering along and isn`t much heard from again. So, the dream candidate turns out to be a laughingstock, but does try to make a go of it in South Carolina. The media is still quite interested in the elder statesman married a lot guy. But it sort of seems like the race has passed him by. Social conservative guy has had his Iowa moment, which then went nowhere. Ron Paul keeps being Ron Paul. This guy, the Republican establishment guy, who`s hated by the base, is so dispiriting to the Republican Party as a whole that he inspired all of these other characters to get in the race, the guy with no natural source of enthusiasm for his candidacy outside of lobbyist politician fundraiser permanent Republican ruling class that`s making deals in the backrooms, this guy goes on to South Carolina, after what happens in Iowa, after what happens in New Hampshire, this time in the race, last time around he arrives in South Carolina. And he wins. All those other guys who were still in the race, they don`t take a piece of the vote for themselves. They split up the anti-establishment vote, but the establishment guy, who nobody liked very much, inherits the nomination with a period instead of an exclamation point. And then he picks Sarah Palin and then he loses. That`s how the Republican Party did it last time around in 2008. That also appears to be exactly how this year in 2012. This year, the Republican establishment elite candidate guy is Mitt Romney. This year, the does good in Iowa social conservative guy, Rick Santorum. The thrice married elder statesman guy who can`t get any traction Newt Gingrich. The supposed superstar going to change everything is not Fred Thompson but is instead -- we have no oops? We had oops on Texas governor, oops Perry. And, of course, Ron Paul, still Ron :Paul, naturally. It`s essentially the same cast of characters, and the same dynamic playing out four years later. It`s kind of amazing. Dave Weigel wrote up this thesis today at to show the bizarre exact parallels between the Republican Party process four years ago and the Republican Party process now. Dave Weigel is going to be joining us in just a second. But what I think is most remarkable about this, is that between 2008 and now, there was supposed to be a huge tidal wave in Republican politics, right? A phenomenon that was changing everything. In 2008, when this happened, there wasn`t any Tea Party yet, right? The Tea Party movement that emerged after the election of Barack Obama was supposed to represent this massive sea change in the Republican Party, a huge challenge to the Republican establishment, a populist, activist, angry hoard throwing out all of those bums out of the backrooms and taking over the Republican Party. Thanks to the Tea Party, right, Republicans would never make another mistake like John McCain again. And yet, after that supposed big change, they are doing exactly the same thing. I mean, to be clear, that there is evidence that to the extent the Tea Party does exist, they are anti-Mitt Romney. We can go to and read the news about all the right wing activists and Tea Party people who have come together to say that they agree on one thing, Mitt Romney -- they say, Mitt Romney should not be our nominee, emphasis in the original. You can find self-proclaimed leaders like this guy going on TV talking all sort smack about Mitt Romney. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MARTIN BASHIR, MSNBC HOST: If Newt isn`t the candidate, can the Tea Party rally behind the candidate like Mitt Romney? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the Tea Party will never rally behind Mitt Romney. BASHIR: Really, never? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Never. In South Carolina, the next Republican primary state, the Tea Party there is outwardly hostile to Mr. Romney. The head of the Spartanburg Tea Party telling NPR recently quote, "There is no Tea Partier I talked to the state or nationally that want to promote Romney. I do not personally know anyone that does not despise Mitt Romney and doesn`t hate the idea of him being our nominee." The former head of the Columbia, South Carolina Tea Party saying, quote, "I think there is one Tea Party member in Columbia who likes him. But throughout the state, the rest of the leaders, there is not one who seriously is looking at him." Now, it should be noted for the record that this is the last visual evidence we have of the strength of the Tea Party in South Carolina, which is a Tea Party event that South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley addressing the -- I don`t know, do we call it a crowd? Addressing the duo there. Governor Nikki Haley, of course, went later on, went on later to endorse Mitt Romney, supposedly incurring the Tea Party`s wrath. So, maybe those two people in those lawn chairs were really angry about it. I mean, overall, what we`ve got here is a test. Does the Tea Party exist? Is the Tea Party an actual force in the Republican Party? Like everybody has been saying for 2 1/2 years now. Or aren`t they? A group called sent out an e-mail today from Newt Gingrich, it had the subject line, "Do you want to stop Mitt Romney or not?" In the e-mail, Mr. Gingrich writes, quote, "There is no more time for talking about stopping Mitt Romney. We`re going to do it next week in South Carolina or he`s almost certain to be the Republican nominee, whether conservatives like us want it or not." Mr. Gingrich asks for money to, quote, "defeat Mitt Romney and the Republican establishment next week in South Carolina." The entire Republican establishment is now piling on Newt Gingrich right now, to try to stop -- to try to make him stop attacking Mitt Romney, specifically for Mitt Romney`s business record. Don`t run the when Mitt Romney came to town attack ad about his economic record in the private sector, stop saying all these populist things and get on board. Private equity executives are our kind of people, shut up, Newt Gingrich. So, this is the test. Is there an anti-establishment right wing populist insurgency inside the Republican Party that matters or was the whole Tea Party story line that we`ve all been wallowing in for years much ado about nothing? Has absolutely nothing changed between 2008 and 2012? Joining us is the aforementioned Dave Weigel. He`s an MSNBC contributor and a political reporter for Dave, thanks for being here. I`m sure you are tired after all your days on the campaign trail recently. DAVE WEIGEL, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I`m been woken up completely by watching my blog posts be illustrated by tiny heads. That`s made my night so far. MADDOW: They`re almost life-size. John McCain`s heads are almost this size. WEIGEL: Actually, they are two dimensional. But they are full size. MADDOW: Yes, very good. In terms of your thesis, I mean, that was in part your thesis. Was that the overall point that you were trying to make that the same dynamics that were driving the Republican Party`s decision-making last time around are still driving it now, that nothing really has changed? WEIGEL: You know, that is what was surprising to me. And I almost, in making the comparison, probably soft peddled how well Mitt Romney is doing because John McCain last time figured how to pawn on Iowa, not trying very hard, coming fourth place, a bit of a tie with Fred Thompson, and then when New Hampshire, Romney actually tied with Rick Santorum -- the clip we saw may have been a Santorum victory, and then did very well in New Hampshire. I mean, performed exactly what the polls were saying, staved off this Huntsman surge that everyone in the fourth estate decided to believe in at the last minute. He heads to South Carolina which for all the talk we`re going to talk about conservative voters, the record of South Carolina is that they affirm the establishment`s candidate. You can bungle it. I mean, somebody could try to bungle it and he might, but George H.W. Bush, who is not the most right wing candidate, won that. Bob Dole, who was not the most right wing candidate won that. There`s -- I think, you know, we mentioned there is this meeting this weekend of evangelical leaders who will talk about the way to stop this, it`s clear they blew their best chance to stop this months ago. MADDOW: Looking at the exit polling in Iowa and New Hampshire, I was looking to day at the people who identified themselves as strong Tea Party supporters, and Mitt Romney -- there was a significant number of those people in both states, more in Iowa than New Hampshire, but a lot in both places, and Mitt Romney lost a huge majority of those people in both states even while either tying or winning in both of those places. I wonder if part of the issue is that even if the Tea Party movement is real and doesn`t like Mitt Romney, it`s very small. It`s smaller than the attention paid to it would indicate in terms of who turns out to vote. WEIGEL: This was a dynamic you notice in New Hampshire. I mean, a Tea Party candidate had taken over the state Republican Party and Jack Kimble. He then was ousted after they just -- basically they lost a few special elections, in the year he ran the party, he didn`t raise a ton of money. He was kicked out. The party hasn`t raised a ton of more money since he got into it but there was a reaction against the Tea Party, not just in pure electoral terms. And I think you saw that in voters I talked to on Tuesday, especially when I was going to polling places, you met people who really, really loved Herman Cain or they really worship Jim DeMint. One guy was -- a Jim DeMint voter he would have been if he jumped in the race. But since he wouldn`t he was ready to compromise for someone that could beat Barack Obama. I mean, it`s almost like they`ve got a score card and they are willing to get candidates at lower level, but a candidate who can beat Barack Obama there at the top. And there`s some savvy there. If you have Mitt Romney in the White House and if you believe as the Tea Party believe that he`s pretty malleable, then if he has a very right wing Congress, he will probably do what they say. If you don`t believe he wants to get rid of Obamacare, well, he`s going to be confronted if you do your work with a really right wing Senate and right wing Congress that are going to do it for him and it would be odd if he tried to veto. There are already dealing, it`s just that they must realize that the month they spent on Herman Cain -- that`s like the Jack Lemmon last weekend of the whole primary, the Michele Bachmann interlude. They`re going to look back -- I mean, here`s some sort of look back in early 2009 and say, why did we not pick Huckabee or somebody sooner? Why do we waste this time in these other candidates? And, you know, it`s -- I think it`s human error and now, they are dealing with it. MADDOW: Dave Weigel, MSNBC contributor, political reporter at -- Dave, your reporting has been detailed in a way that I appreciate, but also really, really insightful. I`m glad that you`ve been out there on the trail. Thanks for being with us tonight. WEIGEL: Thank you, Rachel. MADDOW: All right. One of the big polling firms has just started polling Republicans in South Carolina on whether they would vote for Stephen Colbert for president. Those results plus who this guy Dick Perry is, Dick Perry, who is on the ballot in Arizona. That`s all coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: One under appreciated thing about last night`s primary yesterday, could we see that, do we have there, could we have this that we could show it on the screen? This was the ballot. There we go. This is the ballot. This is what New Hampshire voters had to work with in the voting booth yesterday. As you there, the first listed candidate is Joe Story, then Linden Swift, James A. Vestermark, then Vern Wuensche, then Michele Bachmann. She`s out of the race. Also, then, Bear Betzler, Timothy Brewer, then Herman Cain, oh, he`s not on the race either anymore. Then, Mark Callahan, Hugh Cort, Randy Crow, L. John Davis, Jr., Keith Drummond and then Newt Gingrich. He`s running. This is the presidential ballot in New Hampshire from yesterday. You get down to the 14th name on the list before you get to somebody you have maybe heard of and who is definitely still running. Jon Huntsman listed 17th on the ballot. Fred Karger is listed 19. Mitt Romney is listed 28th on the ballot. Mitt Romney at 28th on the New Hampshire ballot, right below Buddy Roemer at 27. Buddy Roemer looking on the bright side of last night`s returns rolled in, tweeting, quote, "With 12 percent of votes in, I`m happy to report I`m ahead of Herman Cain, total write ins, and a guy wearing a boot on his head" Fred Karger also looking on the bright side last night. Tweeting this, quote, "We`re in solid 8th place ahead of Michele Bachmann and 21 others." Even in the midst, though, of people trying to puzzle their way through this massive New Hampshire presidential primary ballot, the state of Arizona announced its primary line-up. We learned that appearing 4th on the ballot will be Dick Perry. While the perhaps better known Rick Perry will be listed 17th. Also, Jon huntsman will not appear on the Arizona ballot at all. Jon Huntsman`s people paperwork was rejected by the state of Arizona. And don`t forget, the big Super Tuesday primary in Virginia they have the opposite problem, that Arizona and New Hampshire have with their giant unpredictable ballot. At this point, the only Republican slated to be on the ballot are these two, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. State Republicans in Virginia say they are the only two who are qualified, so that`s who will be on the ballot. Some of the other candidates are still fighting in court to try to force to add them to the ballot. But so far, they have had no luck. We`ve also learned this week that Rick Santorum has essentially only partially qualified to run in Ohio. He will be on the ballot but Mr. Santorum apparently failed to qualify to collect delegates from three of the state`s districts. So, even if Rick Santorum and comes and wins hugely in the state of Ohio, he won`t be able to collect delegates from some parts of the state. The next contest, of course, is South Carolina in 10 days. Rick Perry appears to have just overcome an even more pressing logistical hurdle in South Carolina. Talking Points Memo pointing out today that Rick Perry does not meet the published requirements for participating in the South Carolina/CNN debate which is scheduled for two days before the primary. Now, to get in that debate, CNN said you had to place in the top four in Iowa or New Hampshire, and you had to be polling at an average of 7 percent in either three national or three South Carolina polls this month, taken in January. Rick Perry has done none of those things. Apparently, forget the rules, CNN has reportedly decided this afternoon that regardless of their published rules, they`re just going to let Rick Perry in the debate anyway. Really, CNN? I mean, I understand if you have rules, that being justify case for excluding somebody. But if you`re not going to follow the rules, why not have Buddy Roemer, too? To the extent that the CNN`s rules actually apply to their debate and aren`t just some sort of weird CNN trickery, it should be noted that Jon Huntsman should be qualified to be in that debate, thanks to his third place finish in New Hampshire last night. That said, it`s not all good news for Mr. Huntsman. The latest PPP poll out of South Carolina over the weekend shows Mr. Huntsman being outpolled by a man named Stephen Colbert. Stephen Colbert from Comedy Central, who is not running for president, but who PPP thought to poll on in South Carolina just in case. Among likely primary voters in South Carolina, Stephen Colbert is polling at 5 percent, Jon Huntsman is polling at 4 percent. Again, Stephen Colbert, not actually running. At this point in the race, what we have is Mitt Romney on what is likely to be a long, slow, difficult path of sewing up the nomination. But there are still a lot of people engaged in the contest, whether they are running and nobody knows it, people like Bear Betzler, right, who is on the ballot in New Hampshire. Or maybe they are running and even though people do know that they are running, they are still failing, people like Rick Perry or like everybody other than Mitt Romney and Ron Paul who did not qualify for the ballot in Virginia. But spare a thought tonight -- spare thought also for the guys who could have run this year, and didn`t. The people who opted out at the start of the campaign season, even though a lot of people wanted them to run. Boy, are their lives different than they would have otherwise been, right? Take for example Haley Barbour, the now former governor of Mississippi, who has supporters and colleagues standing ready to support him when he considered running for president in this year`s election. Yesterday, it was Haley Barbour`s last day as governor of Mississippi. He was term-limited out of office after two terms. On his way out of his last day in office, Haley Barbour issued pardons to 193 people who had been convicted of crimes in Mississippi. He had 10 pardons previously, so that brings the grand total to 203 full pardons over his time in office, including 17 pardons to convicted murderers. The other most recent Mississippi governor issued 13, 4 and one full pardon, respectively respectively. Haley Barbour more than 200. This is what it`s like to be Haley Barbour today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Outraged family members and victims are denouncing the pardons of four murderers by former Mississippi Republican Governor Haley Barbour. TAMRON HALL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Families of crime victims are outraged today. STATE REP. DAVID BARIA (D), MISSISSIPPI: There`s just outrage across the state. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of people angry. HALL: Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour`s final act in office has ignited outrage. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They have been convicted of burglary, rape and in some cases murder. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think they ought to be -- the governor should have to look me and the family in the eyes and say, hey, I`m going to let this guy go. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a clear signal that he probably is planning to be finished with electoral politics. (END VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: Mississippi judge actual hi temporarily blocked the release of some of the prisoners who Governor Barbour pardoned or otherwise released. But while the state of Mississippi fumes over and even fights against Haley Barbour`s pardons out of office, Haley Barbour is on his way out of office. One day out of the governor`s office and it has already been announced that Haley Barbour is going back to being a high dollar lobbyist. Given what he did on his last day in office, not only is he not trying to be president, he is not trying to be anybody`s vice president either. And there`s Mitch Daniels. Mitch Daniels is governor of Indiana, also considered running for president in this year`s election before ultimately deciding against it. Mr. Daniels is also term limited, so he can`t run for reelection this year. Mitch Daniels delivered his state of the state address in Indiana yesterday, his last one as governor. Check out what was going on at the state house. Out in the hallways, while the governor was addressing the general assembly -- look at this. (VIDEO CLIP PLAYS) MADDOW: This is during the speech. Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the House chamber booing as Governor Daniels walked in to deliver his speech, chanting "shame on you, shame on you" as left. These protesters are protesting Governor Daniels` decision which he announced last month to support his fellow Republicans plan to strip union rights in Indiana this year. Once upon a time back in 2006, Mitch Daniels said pushing anti-union right to work legislation in Indiana would be enormously divisive, said they shouldn`t do it. But now in his last year in office, Mitch Daniels has decided to go ahead and pursue that kind of anti-union legislation in his state, just three and a half weeks before Indiana hosts the Super Bowl, at the time when the eyes of the world will turn to Indiana to watch the most famous unionized workers in the world do their jobs in that state`s capital city. The NFL Payers Association, that union coming out in loud opposition to what the Indiana Republicans are doing to strip union rights in the Hoosier State. Mitch Daniels has decided now is the time to go ahead with the big anti-union rights push in his state. Republicans, including Mitch Daniels, are trying to get it down before the Super Bowl to avoid the attention, but Democrats are doing their damndest to slow them down. This is what Mitch Daniels has on his hands as a result. With Mitt Romney seeming to be running away with the presidential nomination, you don`t really envy anybody the prospect of being yet another of the non-Romney Republicans in the race right now. It`s kind of a tossup right now if you`re considering whether you`d rather be one of the also- rans, not managing to qualify for the ballot in Virginia right now, or whether you`d rather be Mitch Daniels, having picked this fight with his own state and looking forward to this being sound of his Super Bowl, too. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: It`s all this pressure right now from the Republican establishment that Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry should not go after Mitt Romney`s business record. They should leave it alone, which is a pretty good sign for Democrat, right? That if Mitt Romney is the nominee even Republicans know his time in corporate finance may be more of a liability an asset. But what if that Republican establishment pressure works on Gingrich and Perry? What if Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry cave like spineless twerps before the Republican Party establishment and say, OK, OK, you`re right, Mitt Romney probably does have a glass jaw on the corporate raider thing, so we won`t punch at it? We`ll leave that for the Democrats, for the general election. What if Perry and Gingrich cave on going after him for his time at Bain? But they want to go after him. They leave the Bain record out of it. Do know what else they would use against Mitt Romney? Yes. Yes, do. Today, a conservative Web site leaked this video from the Newt Gingrich campaign. It is apparently their non-Bain attack on Mitt Romney. Watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I like being able to provide to fire people that provide services to me. Corporations are people, my friend. We can raise taxes -- of course, they are, everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people. So, where do you think it goes? Whose pocket? Whose pockets? We hired a lawn company to mow our lawn and they had illegal immigrants who are working there. So, we went to the company and we said, look, you can`t have any illegals working on our property. I`m running for office for Pete`s sake, I can`t have illegals. Ten thousand bucks, $10,000 bet? GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m not in the betting business. ROMNEY: OK. I know what it`s like to worry whether you`ll get fired. There were a couple times I wore wondered whether I was going to get a pink slip. I`ve always been, if you will, a rodent and rabbit hunter, small varmints, if you will. And I began when I was 15 or so, hunted those kind of varmints. Since then, more than two times. CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: I had a yellow Lab named Winston. I would no sooner put him on the kennel on the roof of my car than I would one of my children. Question, what were you thinking? ROMNEY: This is a completely air-tight kennel mounted on the top of the car, he climbed up there regularly, enjoyed himself in. He was a kennel at home a great deal of times as well. We love the dog, was where he was comfortable, we had five kids in the car, my guess he liked it better in his kennel than he would like it inside. Who let the dogs out? Who? (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: An air-tight kennel? What does that even mean? Air-tight does that mean the dog has scuba gear on or something? Air-tight? That web ad was leaked by a conservative Web site. It is alleged to be a draft ad at least for the Newt Gingrich campaign. Of course leaking an ad online is one of the ways campaigns float trial balloons for campaign tactics. Is that the type of ad Newt Gingrich can run without getting him attacked by the Romney Republican establishment the way Mr. Gingrich has been attacked for the past few days? I think it probably is. Is that the kind of ad that can knock Mitt Romney over the coronation stand in South Carolina? What`s the proportion of dog owners in the South Carolina Republican electorate? (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Today the Newt Gingrich PAC, I`m supposed to say a PAC that is supporting Newt Gingrich but has absolutely nothing to do with him, forget it. Today, the Newt Gingrich PAC Winning Our Future today posted online the full 28 minute hit piece we heard about called "When Mitt Romney Came to Town." The film highlights four different communities where Bain Capital under the CEO Mitt Romney came to town and took apart local businesses, stripped them down, fired the workers, sold the assets, pocketed the proceeds themselves and left town. It`s on the web at There is a fight raging among Republicans as to whether or not it`s OK to criticize as part of Mitt Romney`s record. Other candidates, the Club for Growth, kingmakers like Jim DeMint, the talk radio and conservative establishment columnists, they are all pressuring Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry and everybody else to shut up about his record of making money for himself by shutting down U.S. companies and firing their American workers. But while that debate rages among Republicans, the White House today put forth their own argument implicitly against Mr. Romney`s economic record. The president today hosting a White House forum on in sourcing jobs, of bringing back to the U.S. jobs that were outsourced, jobs that were sent abroad by race to the bottom financiers with names like -- well, with names that rhyme with pain. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, my message to business leaders today is simple: ask yourselves what you can do to bring jobs back to the country that made our success possible, and I`m going to do everything in my power to help you do it. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The White House said today to expect new tax proposals from the president in the next few weeks -- tax proposals to reward companies that invest here, and tax proposals to eliminate breaks that companies get now for sending U.S. jobs overseas, because tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas still exist whether or not you were fortunate or not to have Mitt Romney come to your town. Joining us now, "Washington Post" columnist and MSNBC contributor, also senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, Mr. E.J. Dionne. Hi, E.J. It`s nice to you. E.J. DIONNE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Good to see you. MADDOW: I know you are writing about this in your new column. Are Republicans trying to define good capitalist versus bad capitalist? Is that a difference they`re going to try to make for the campaign? DIONNE: Well, I think the Republicans comrades, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich are definitely trying to do that. I mean if you look at their quotes, if anyone else said that on what they have said on MSNBC, they would be called socialists. Rick Perry said they are just vultures. You know, they leave the skeleton and eat the carcass of these private equity companies. Newt Gingrich talked about how they looted companies. Now, I think this is a very useful thing. It`s useful for two reasons. One, Mitt Romney is his main calling card is: I was in private equity, I was in business, I`m a job creator, so you should make me president. He likes to brag about his successes, Staples, Domino`s, the Sports Authority. OK. That`s fine. Well, let`s look at what Bain actually did. Did they create jobs? Did they destroy jobs? Then I think it goes to the Karl Rove`s classic technique in a campaign, you go at a candidate`s greatest strength and if you can undermine that, you can win. I think that is what Gingrich and Perry are doing. But I think Romney has to be accountable. But the other thing is, we have to have an argument what kind of capitalism we want in our country and we have had arguments like that throughout our history. Not from socialists although we had distinguished socialists, (INAUDIBLE) Mike Harrington, but from people like Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson. They wanted the market system to work but they concentrated economic power is not the way to make it work. So, let`s bring on that argument and say thank you to Perry and Gingrich for starting it. MADDOW: If Perry and Gingrich, or even the Democrats are able to sort of cloud the Bain experience so that Mitt Romney can`t run on it, does he turn to running on his record as Massachusetts governor? You almost would not know he was a former Massachusetts governor from the way he campaigns now. I remember from living in Massachusetts when he ran for governor there, that he ran not at all on Bain, he ran on his turnaround of the Salt Lake City Olympics. Does he have the ability to pivot to other parts of his resume that he`s sort of been ignoring up until now? DIONNE: Well, he could run on his health care plan of Massachusetts. The excellent plan that laid the basis for Obamacare. You know, I think he`s not running on that. I`m surprised -- he talks about the Olympics in his speeches. But, obviously, they have a very clear, disciplined strategy. This election is about the economy, unemployment is high, Romney is the jobs guy, because he was in business and I don`t see how they pivot off that. And I`m reminded of how some of these questions raised in primaries end upcoming up later down the line. I think it was a big debate among Democrats, well, if this stuff comes out now, is he immunized later? I don`t think so. I think some of the doubts that were raised in the primaries about Al Gore or Mike Dukakis ended up haunting them later in the campaign. And I think that is what`s more likely to happen here with Bain. MADDOW: Romney did obviously know that this attack was coming from Democrats, the attack on his sort of, for lack of a better phrase, vulture capitalist past. Has he been able to -- I guess has he telegraphed the way he was going to respond to it to Democrats in the way he has responded to Republicans? He knew it was coming. He`s getting a chance to do his response earlier than he would have otherwise. DIONNE: Well, what he`s trying to say is any criticism of his record at Bain is a criticism of free enterprise -- the phrase he`s used over and over again is: they are putting free enterprise on trial. Well, we should have an argument how capitalism works, but this isn`t about putting free enterprise on trial, it`s about putting Mitt Romney on trial in terms of making him accountable. That may work with Republicans that argument, maybe he will push back Gingrich and Perry, but I don`t think that`s going to detain the Democrats, and it shouldn`t detain the media from doing explorations as the "Wall Street Journal" did about Bain and how it worked. MADDOW: "Washington Post" columnist, MSNBC contributor, and clear thinker, E.J. Dionne -- E.J., thank you for being with us tonight. It`s nice to see you. DIONNE: Thank you so much. MADDOW: All right. Right after the show in THE LAST WORD, Mitt Romney`s 40 relatives who are living in Mexico. Lawrence O`Donnell with the Romney family travel log there. That`s coming up. And here, we got the best new thing in the world. And tonight, it includes dinner. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Best new thing in the world, straight ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: "Debunktion Junction," what`s my function? First up, going into last night`s primary, the New Hampshire secretary of state`s office made a prediction. They predicted that 250,000 people would vote in the Republican primary, which would be a record. It would be more voters in the Republican primary in New Hampshire than in 2008. Then there were anecdotal reports and some projections yesterday that, actually, turnout in New Hampshire was lacking to be a little bit low. So how did it turn out? Was the prediction that a quarter million voters would turn out for the Republican primary yesterday in New Hampshire, was that prediction true or was that false? True. Well, almost. According to a little RACHEL MADDOW SHOW math, the total number of voters who cast ballots in the Republican primary yesterday in New Hampshire was 248,485. That`s including the 12 people who voted for Randy Crow and the three people who voted for James Vestermark. Now, because independents and Republicans can vote in the New Hampshire Republican primary, it`s possible that the number of Republicans was down and the difference was made up by independents, but nobody knows that yet. We will know that when we get the official data from the secretary of state about exactly who turned out and voted. But in terms of raw numbers in New Hampshire, no matter what you heard, the secretary of state predicted record turnout, and that is basically what they got. Next up, last night, Mitt Romney declared victory in Manchester, New Hampshire, with his wife, Ann, and his five sons standing behind him. That is noteworthy, because usually only four of the Romney sons campaign with his dad. One of them is a doctor doing his residency, and therefore he can`t spend much time on the campaign trail. Someone on this network last night, someone at MSNBC, who shall remain nameless, but whose initials are Rachel Maddow said this about one of the Romney sons. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: All five of his sons, for the first time, his son, Matt, who`s a doctor, doing a residency in Utah, has not been on the campaign trail thus far, but all five Romney sons are there tonight. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: So is this true or false? Matt Romney is the doctor Romney son who before last night was unavailable to campaign with his dad? Is that true or is that false? Uh, false. Matt Romney is not the Romney son doctor. That`s actually Ben Romney who is the Romney son doctor. I mixed up my Romneys. Struck by the rare Romney sons confusion bug, which I think I picked up last week in New Hampshire. I`m feeling much better now, but I`m sorry to have made that Romney son confusion mistake. And last night my colleague Ed Schultz asked Mitt Romney supporter John Sununu a question about Mr. Romney`s tax policies. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SCHULTZ: According to the Tax Policy Center that went through his tax policy and they came out and said that Romney`s tax plan would increase taxes for families making less than $40,000, and a millionaire will see his taxes drop by almost 5 percent. Do you think that that fits with the populist tone? JOHN SUNUNU (R), FORMER NEW HAMPSHIRE GOVERNOR: Well, that`s kind of strange -- I`m sorry, go ahead. SCHULTZ: Go ahead, sir. SUNUNU: Look, I think that`s kind of strange when the governor has made it clear he`s not cutting taxes on the upper brackets, that he is cutting taxes on the hard-earning taxpayers in the middle, and that he`s committed to flattening and lowering taxes across the board. So with all due respect to that organization, there`s a technical term for that, it`s a crock of crap. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: So true or false, stat crock of crap that Mitt Romney`s tax plan would raise taxes on people making less than $40,000 while millionaires would see a drop in their taxes? Is as John Sununu said so eloquently last night, the technical term for that assertion -- a crock of crap? Is that crock of crap assertion true or false? False. Meaning it`s not a crock of crap. The Tax Policy Center`s analysis of the Romney tax plan was picked up all over the place, including here at McClatchy. The Tax Policy Center crunched the numbers. They found that some Americans making under 40,000 grand a year would see their taxes rise under Mitt Romney`s tax plan while nearly all millionaires in the country would get tax cuts that average $150,000 a year. The Tax Policy Center is an independent, nonpartisan group that analyzes tax-related newsy topics. Their analysis is neither left wing nor a crock of crap. But John Sununu saying crock of crap really loud on our air last night is still one of my favorite things that happened on our entire broadcast over the entire evening. So even though he was totally wrong, I still think he gets points for being kind of adorable. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Best new thing in the world, with no politics in it. This is yummy looking food, which you can find at a restaurant in Lowell, Massachusetts, about 40 minutes outside Boston, up by the New Hampshire border. This is Iraqi food. The restaurant is called Babylon. Babylon has been open in Lowell, Massachusetts, for less than a year, but judging from its Facebook page and this rave review in "Merrimack Valley" magazine, people really seem to like this place. The Babylon restaurant is owned by this man Ahmed al-Zubaidi and by his family. Mr. Zubaidi is a journalist by trade. He and his family emigrated to the U.S. just a year ago from Iraq. Back in 2003, as a journalist in Iraq, Mr. Zubaidi reported on Saddam Hussein torturing prisoners. After publishing that article, he was attacked by a group of six men. He was hurt badly enough that he had to spend the next two months recuperating in a hospital. He and his family were finally able to emigrate last January, a year ago, and they opened this restaurant in Lowell. Mr. Zubaidi are about one of 35 Iraqi families who are now living in Lowell. Last Wednesday at about 3:00 a.m., a man not from Lowell, threw a 20- pound rock through the Babylon Restaurant window. A small rock through your window is scary enough. A 20-pound rock is terrifying. Police have ID`ed the guy they say is responsible. He`s due to be arraigned in Lowell district court. Although the police say they don`t think the crime was motivated by prejudice, nevertheless, Mr. Zubaidi and his family were a little understandably shaken up. A 20-pound rock through your window does not come from the welcome wagon. Enter veterans of the United States military. On the wake of this attack on one innocent Iraqi American small business owner in Massachusetts, a Veterans for Peace organizer decided that not just Lowell as a whole, but veterans in particular should make a visible show of support for their neighbor. What kind of support means the absolute most to a new small business owner? Business. A lot of business. And so, last night, Veterans for Peace, who had vowed to fill all 50 seats in the Babylon restaurant, did better than that. They filled twice over. They were World War II veterans, Vietnam veterans and veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And from these pictures, it seems like they had a great time and they got very well-fed in the meantime. The story even made the front page of the local paper, which is the "The Lowell Sun." Americans are always grateful for and proud of our veterans, but this particular new reason in Lowell, Massachusetts, why we are grateful and proud of them -- best new thing in the world, and with no politics in it at all. And that does it for us tonight. 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