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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 02/03/12

Guests: Jared Bernstein, Jon Ralston

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Well, no. I`m telling you I have so many bets going on right now on the Super Bowl, I can`t -- my number of bets has surpassed my number of superstitions. ED SCHULTZ, "THE ED SHOW" HOST: It`s on record. I`m bet-free with my friend Rachel. I hope your team wins. I don`t care. I`m going to watch it. MADDOW: You are very kind. Thanks, Ed. Have a great weekend. SCHULTZ: You bet. MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour. Some great news, straight up, no snark. Actual great news for the country, in terms of the stock market, did you see this? Dow was up 156 points. The Dow had its highest closing in three-and-a-half years. The Dow has not been this high since May of 2008. Also, the NASDAQ, which is more or less the tech stocks, the NASDAQ closed at the highest level in 11 years today. Eleven years. Those great numbers were due in large part to the fact the monthly jobs numbers came out today. The expectation was that the number of new jobs in the country in January would be about 140,000. It ended up being more like 240,000. That`s how many jobs were added last month. They also revised the earlier numbers to reflect the fact that thousands more jobs were also created in November and in December. Today`s excellent jobs report means that we have now had 23 straight months of job growth. And the unemployment rate has dropped from a high of 10 percent down to 8.3 percent. Even the internal numbers that came out are good. It`s not like a whole bunch of people got hired to wrap packages for Christmas or something. The numbers are good in professional and business services. The numbers are good in hospitality, in health care, in manufacturing. All of the internals look positive. Really the only bad economic news today is that good economic news seems to confuse the Republican Party`s likely nominee for president. Mitt Romney appears to be just flummoxed right now. Mitt Romney`s case for why he should be president basically comes down to the economy, right? Pay no attention to his time running the state of Massachusetts. That`s immaterial. What Mitt Romney wants to be known as is a business guy. And you know what business guys know? Business guys know money. And you know what money is when they talk about it in the aggregate for the country? Yes, it`s about the economy. So, the thing that is important to you is the economy, then Mitt Romney is your guy, right? That`s how they want you to see it. When you see Mitt Romney, do you think money? Good. That`s the idea. That`s what they want. But when Mitt Romney talks about the economy, when he talks about money, when he talks about this thing that is supposed to be the raison d`etre for his campaign, sometimes Mitt Romney does not make sense. And it`s not because he`s always talking about complicated things. Even the very simplest things, he sometimes makes no sense. For example, Governor Romney, how`s the economy? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I know the president didn`t cause this downturn, this recession. But he didn`t make it better, either. He made it worse. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Worse? The word "worse" means less good. It means more bad. Not a thumb`s up, but a thumb`s down. Going from a thumb`s up to a thumb`s down, right? That is what "worse" means. Here what is Barack Obama inherited when he came into office. That was the Great Recession. That was then, and this is now. Then to now. Bad to better. No matter how much you hate President Obama, nobody who understands the meaning of the English word "worse" can look at then and now here and say now is worse. Worse is a very simple word. It does not apply in this circumstance. Now, Mitt Romney has gotten in trouble for saying this before, because the whole he made the economy worse thing has been in Mr. Romney`s stump speech for a long time. This was him back in June. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: When he took office, the economy was in recession. And he made it worse. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The economy of course wasn`t worse then, either. When called out on that fact, at the time when he said that last summer, Mr. Romney took it back. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: I didn`t say the things are worse. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Oh, dude, you totally did. But at least you were embarrassed enough to lie about it when somebody called you on it. Now, though, having been called out on that and having had to take it back, today in the face of great economic news for the country, Mitt Romney is inexplicably back to his old self again. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: And I know the president didn`t cause this downturn, this recession. But he didn`t make it better, either. He made it worse. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: He made it worse. That was Mr. Romney speaking today in Sparks, Nevada. The most interesting thing about Mitt Romney making no sense and flailing wildly on the basic question, "dude, how`s the economy," the most interesting thing when he says that the president made things worse, Mitt Romney knows that that is not true. I`m not saying I can read his mind or that I surmise that he must know it`s not true. What I mean is: he has said, he has explained that he knows it is not true. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO HOST: You`ve also noted that there are signs of improvement on the horizon in the economy. How do you answer the president`s argument that the economy is getting better in a general election campaign if you yourself are saying it`s getting better? ROMNEY: Well, of course, it`s getting better. The economy always gets better after a recession. There is always a recovery. INGRAHAM: Isn`t that a hard argument to make, if you`re saying, like, OK, he inherited this recession, and he took a bunch of steps and tried to turn the economy around. And now, we`re seeing more jobs, but vote against him anyway? Isn`t that a hard argument to make? Is that a stark enough contrast? ROMNEY: Have you got a better one, Laura? This happens to be the truth. (END AUDIO CLIP) MADDOW: It does happen to be the truth, except on days when you decide to say otherwise. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: He didn`t make it better, either, he made it worse. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Also, he made it better. Mr. Romney, you do not always make sense. And here`s the reason this is important. This is not just Mitt Romney being a not great candidate. This is not just Mitt Romney taking yes and no on every issue. Mitt Romney taking both sides of every policy issue, both sides of every factual issue. All the stuff that we`ve known about him as a candidate since he started running for president when I was roughly a toddler. What is important is that this subject is the whole reason there is a Mitt Romney candidacy in the first place, at least what they tell us. This is the whole basis of his campaign. He`s supposedly Mr. Economy, right? When you think about economic questions, you`re supposed to think about him. If you want the economy to get better, he wants you to want him to be president. You can understand why it would flummox him the economy is getting better without him but he does appear to be flummoxed after being forced to release his tax returns showing that he is maybe the richest guy to ever run for resident in modern times. His net worth is roughly the net worth of the last eight presidents times two. After having to release to these really quite spectacular tax returns, there has been a basic question for him. Hey, Mr. Unimaginably Rich Zillionaire guy, should people who aren`t rich people worry about the prospect of you as president? Can you relate to the problems of people who have nothing given that you pretty much have everything? Are you just for rich people? Or are you for everybody? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: I`m concerned about our poor in this country. We have to make sure the safety net for our poor is always strong and able to help those that can`t help themselves. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Aide from the weird idea they are our poor, that like Mitt Romney owns some poor people, that was sort of the right political answer, right? I`m concerned about the poor in this country. Despite the awkward phrasing, as always with Mitt Romney, sort of the right answer. Good answer. Then this week on CNN -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: I`m not concerned about the very poor. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Mr. Romney then went on to explain that the reason he`s not concerned about the very poor is because of the very poor have a safety net. When that explanation did not seem to make it any better, he then said that his remark was being taken out of context. That did not seem to make it better, either. And so, in a new interview with our next guest, Mr. Romney has now finally decided to stop defending that statement, to stop explaining it, to stop trying to put it in context. And instead he`s now just saying it came out wrong. It was an accident. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: When you do, I don`t know how many thousands of interviews, now and then, you may get it wrong. And I misspoke. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Here is the thing -- I misspoke. Misspeaking is a real thing. This for example, this is misspeaking. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right after the break, we`re going to interview Eric (INAUDIBLE) who climbed the highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest. But he`s gay, I mean, he`s gay -- excuse me, he`s blind. So, we`ll hear about that coming up. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That is misspeaking. Here`s another one. He`s Vice President George H.W. Bush talking about Ronald Reagan. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE H.W. BUSH, THEN-VICE PRESIDENT: For seven-and-a-half years I worked alongside him, and I`m proud to be his partner, and we had trials, we made some mistakes, we`ve had some sex -- setbacks. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That is misspeaking. Misspeaking is when you mean to say one word but something else comes out entirely. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are the most difficult problems he or she will face in 2008? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There you go. Why don`t we ask Osama bin Laden-- Osama Obama -- Obama since he won by a big amount. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That is misspeaking, right? That`s misspeaking. Here is a more recent example. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I am confident with the leadership and the backing of the American people, President Obama will turn this country around. We believe in America. We believe that our best days are ahead of us. Excuse me, President Romney. President Romney. President Romney. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That is one of the ways you know something is misstatement, maybe everybody laughs, or you make some sort of noise and then you apologize, that is a misstatement. Do we have one more? I think we have one more. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: American needs a military where our breast and brightest are proud to serve, and proud to stay. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Our breast and brightest. That is misspeaking. There is a difference between a mistake and misspeaking. There is a difference between a mistake and a misstatement. And you can try to pass off a mistake, a scandalous remark as if it were a slip of the tongue, breast and brightest. But trying to pass it off as a mistake doesn`t usually work. You can tell what`s a legitimate mistake and what is a slip of the tongue. The attempt to disguise an actual mistake as a misstatement was attempted recently, attempt and fail spectacularly by Rick Santorum, right? You probably saw this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t want to make black people`s lives better by giving them somebody else`s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money. JOHN KING, CNN: You told an audience that you don`t want to make black people`s lives better by giving them somebody else`s money. SANTORUM: I looked at that quote. In fact, I looked at the video and I don`t -- in fact, I`m pretty confident I didn`t say black. What I think I started to say a word and sort of mumbled it and changed my thought. But I don`t -- I don`t recall saying black. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: You know what Rick Santorum didn`t say there? He didn`t say I don`t want to make blaaaa people`s lives better by giving them other people`s money. It`s not what he said. He said black people. That is not a misstatement. It`s not a slip of the tongue. It was a scandalous remark he made about African Americans, he tried to make it go away by saying it was a misstatement. And now, Mitt Romney would like us to believe that he totally cares about poor people, it just came out wrong. It`s four people that he`s not concerned with, door people. Nor people. I just babbled it somehow. I meant to say I`m concerned about sore people, not poor people. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: When you do I don`t know how many thousands of interviews, now and then you may get it wrong. And I misspoke. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: In a state with 12.6 percent unemployment rate for the state, in a state where 58 percent of homes are currently underwater, even as it looks like Mitt Romney is going to run away with the Nevada Republican caucus tomorrow, has Mitt Romney flummoxed his basic message there about why it is that he is running in the first place? Joining us now is Jon Ralston of "Las Vegas Sun" and the host of "Face to Face with Jon Ralston," where Mitt Romney just explained his misspokenness. Mr. Ralston, you are very busy right now. Thanks for making time for us. JON RALSTON, LAS VEGAS SUN: Nice to be with you, Rachel. MADDOW: When Mitt Romney told you he misspoke, that it was just an error when he said he was not concerned about the very poor, what was your first thought, how did you feel about the answer? RALSTON: I better be careful what I say here, I don`t want to misspeak, Rachel. But I have to tell you, I was frankly stunned when he said it because it`s clear what happened, from when he said first that it was taken out of context, his campaign people were seeing the damage it was done, and that somewhat I don`t know who that might be, Rachel, might ridicule that statement, they decided to back off and try to get it off of the table, right? But, of course, just based on what you did and others are going to do, it`s not going away that simply because it reinforces the narrative that we are going to see over and over again, if indeed he becomes the nominee of the Republican Party, which this is a guy out of touch, not just with poor people, but with regular people. With the middle class that he keeps trying to say he wants to help. So, it was a tremendously damaging part of the mosaic about Mitt Romney, right? MADDOW: And looking at the Nevada economy in particular, that is what makes it so remarkable that something in the water in Nevada makes Mitt Romney say really impolitic things about the economy. He wants foreclosure epidemic to run its course and bottom out. He`s not concerned about poor people. He slipped up and didn`t mean to say that when he said that. I mean, will that stuff stick to him in the general election in Nevada even if it doesn`t for the caucus tomorrow? RALSTON: The Democrats certainly think it will, Rachel. And I have to tell you, I think it will, too. There is no bigger issue here in Nevada than not just the economy, but what essentially caused the economy to almost die here that was the housing bubble bursting. You mentioned those figures. It`s even bigger here in southern Nevada, in Las Vegas, where most of the people down here, maybe 75 percent, 80 percent are underwater on their homes. And they hear Mitt Romney say over and over again -- and believe me it will be repeated over and over again, in ads that the foreclosure process should go through, and essentially they should do nothing. Right before, I asked him about the very poor comment, I asked him about the comments. He, of course, tried to pivot immediately to talk about President Obama and I said, but that`s not what you said, Governor. He immediately got very testy and said, "I know what I said". So he knows that those comments, too, are going to hurt him, Rachel. MADDOW: Jon, in terms of the caucuses tomorrow -- obviously, Mr. Romney is heavily favored. We have seen an exit polls from Florida this week, more than a third of Romney voters said they wished somebody else were running, if they had another choice to make. How much passion do you see for him among Republican voters in Nevada? Is he winning there because they are psyched about him or is it something else? RALSTON: Well, I`m not sure you can find anybody without the last name Romney who`s really psyched about Mitt Romney. You don`t get the whole psyched going on anywhere. Now, Listen, I think the Republicans want to beat President Obama. And so, they are psyched for that reason. But, Rachel, the reason he`s going to win here, most likely tomorrow, is because he`s been running here as he`s been running everywhere for four years. He`s got an organization that`s set up. He`s got money. So, he`s buying a ton of ads to attack Newt Gingrich. But I really still think the wild card out there that the Romney people I think this a sub-rosa level are worried about is the Ron Paul factor. He did well here in 2008, got 14 percent of the vote. There`s more energy, there`s more organization among the Ron Paul folks this time. And you know it`s a caucus, not a primary as it was in Florida. People don`t just push a button. They go in a room with a bunch of other people. And I think if there`s such thing as a persuadable Republican voter, it`s a Republican voter supporting Mitt Romney right now. And those Ron Paul people are ferocious, and they`re ready to swarm those caucus. I would not be surprised if he beats Newt Gingrich and he may come closer to Romney than Romney wants. MADDOW: That`s going do make tomorrow really, really, really fascinating to watch. I totally agree. Jon Ralston, columnist for "The Las Vegas Sun," the host of "Face to Face with Jon Ralston," the busiest man in the country right now who is not himself running for office. Jon, have fun tomorrow, man. Good luck with the caucuses. Really appreciate it. RALSTON: Thanks, Rachel. MADDOW: All right. We got a best new thing in the world coming up tonight, that will stick in your head and not leave -- but in a good way. That`s coming up in just a few minutes. But first, one more thing, about things that go oops in 2012 politics. Today, "BuzzFeed" first reported this afternoon that Rick Santorum might not qualify to get his name on the ballot in Indiana for the Indiana Republican primary. That reporting was early this afternoon. And then tonight, Rick Santorum did miss getting on the ballot in Indiana. The state Republican Party says Mitt Romney made it, Ron Paul made it, Newt Gingrich made it, but Rick Santorum has failed to qualify to be on the ballot in Indiana. He apparently ran in trouble in Marion County, which is basically Indianapolis, where it should be noted, 55,000 people voted Republican for Congress last time. Mr. Santorum only needed 500 signatures there, he did not get them. This is the guy Iowa Republicans picked in the presidential caucus preference this year. Tell me again why Iowa Republicans get to go first? Tell me again the importance who Iowa Republicans choose for president? (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Best new thing in the world today involves singing and politics, and has nothing do with Mitt Romney singing or Scott Brown`s daughter singing. That is ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Right after the November 2010 election, something happened all across the country. It happened instantly, out of the blue, and a seemingly coordinated fashion. Newly elected Republican governors and newly elected Republican state legislators started pushing one bill after another, all aimed at doing essentially the same thing, rolling back union rights for people who work for a living. Of course, the place where this got the most attention at first was in Wisconsin, where newly elected Republican Governor Scott Walker had not campaigned on going after union rights. But then, boy, did he -- arguing that he had to destroy union rights in Wisconsin in order to improve the state`s budget. Mr. Walker rammed through all sort of union-busting legislation. It shocked not only the Democrats in the state legislature, but pretty much all of Wisconsin. In covering the remarkable large scale protests against Scott Walker, we made the case at the time that a fight over union rights in Wisconsin was a fight about a lot of things, but it was not a fight about the budget. We made this point repeatedly on the show back then when we were covering it. The first hint that what Republican Governor Scott Walker was doing was not really about the budget was that along with the legislation to kill union rights supposedly to save the budget, the governor also blew an even bigger hole in the state`s long term deficit with a whole bunch of tax giveaways to business groups. Another hint this wasn`t about the budget? Governor Walker specifically exempted from his union-stripping bill certain public safety union that had supported him when he was running for governor. So, what Scott Walker was doing just didn`t smell like, didn`t look like the actions of a person who was being motivated by their concerns about the budget. It looked like the actions of a person who had partisan motivations -- a person who was specifically trying to use public policy to benefit the Republican Party, because if you kill the unions, you kill the funding and organizations that Democrats have to compete with Republicans in elections. This is what campaign spending by outside groups looked like in the 2008 election. The two groups that spent the most of that year were unions. And they mainly spent for Democrats and against Republicans. Then look what happened in 2010 after Supreme Court`s Citizens United ruling. The big money on the right skyrocketed, seven of the 10 outside spending groups that year, thanks to Citizens United, were on the right; largely fueled by corporate contributions. The only non-conservative groups that cracked the top 10 were unions. And so, if you eliminate the unions, you eliminate the Democratic Party`s only way to compete in terms of big money in elections. Even with Scott Walker likely facing a recall election this year as a result of his union stripping in Wisconsin, even with the Ohio union stripping thing which was just like Wisconsin`s, being repealed by Ohio voters in November, even with this huge backlash against stripping union rights where it`s been tried so far, the Republicans are still pursuing it, but now, they don`t say it`s about the budget anymore. Now, they say it`s about jobs. So, in Indiana, Republican Governor Mitch Daniels signed into law that state`s brand new anti-union right-to-work bill. Republicans there say it`s about creating jobs in the state. Republicans in Minnesota advanced their effort to bring the same anti- union legislation to Minnesota, too. Same with Republicans in Ohio. Republicans in Michigan are considering pushing it there as well. The argument from these Republicans is that this is all about creating jobs. But in the same way that what happened last year in places like Wisconsin was not about the budget, this is really not about the jobs, because passing anti-union laws, anti-union right to work laws, does not appear to do anything to spur job growth. This is not a hypothetical thing. This is not theoretical. This has been tried, there is evidence. Check this out. This is manufacturing job losses in the United States since 1994. It`s better to have a smaller bar on this chart, right, because that means fewer jobs lost. As you can see, there is no correlation between whether you are a state with union rights or without union rights, in terms of whether you have been losing manufacturing jobs. Killing union rights does not make your state more desirable for employers. There is no correlation. You want to look at one state`s experience longitudinally over time? You can look at Oklahoma. Here`s manufacturing jobs in Oklahoma from 1990 to 2001. In 2001, Oklahoma passed its anti-union law. Oklahoma passed its own right to work law. Look what happened to manufacturing jobs in Oklahoma since then. Oh, they have fallen off a cliff. This is not to say that Oklahoma`s right to work law caused all those job losses, but there does not seem to be any correlation to the job picture getting better, either. It is not about jobs. It is about destroying the only hope that the Democratic Party has at competing with the corporate side that funds Republicans for elections. This is about making it so Democrats cannot contest elections with Republicans in any of these states, so that Democratic presidential candidates can`t win in these states. Jon Nichols wrote about it yesterday at "The Nation". Two days after Ohio voters repealed their anti-union bill there by a 22-point margin. Two days after that rebuke of the anti-union agenda, Wisconsin Scott Walker got on a plane and flew to Arizona. Scott Walker flew to Arizona and he gave a speech at a right wing think tank to 1,000 Arizona conservatives, telling them now it was their turn to go after union rights in Arizona. He said, don`t be afraid about what happened in Ohio, don`t be afraid about what happened in Wisconsin, quote, "We need to make big fundamental permanent structural changes." Because isn`t that what you associate with the word conservative? That group that Scott Walker spoke to has now championed a radical stripping of union rights in Arizona that is rocketing through the state`s Republican legislature. Introduced on Monday, passed out of committee Wednesday and on its way to the governor`s desk in no time. Killing union rights in Arizona -- a radical, radical set of proposals. This is not about the budget. This is not about jobs. This is about destroying the Democratic Party in partisan terms. This is about making it so that Democrats cannot compete in terms of organization or the big money that decides elections. This is about taking off the table, making illegal the sole means by which Democrats can compete with the unlimited support Republicans get from corporations. It is about using public policy, not to help the country, but to help the Republican Party. It is true of how they are changing the voting laws to make it harder for likely voters to vote in the states. It is true of how they are using redistricting to make more seats safe Republican seats, and it is true of what they are doing to union rights, using state law to kill unions, in order to hurt the Democratic Party in elections. That`s what this is. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: We have been covering the Iraq war parade story, right? St. Louis had a parade last weekend to mark the end of the Iraq war and thank veterans, 100,000 people showed up in St. Louis. The veterans were very, very happy to have the end of the Iraq war noted like that, to be thanked for their service and welcome home. But so far, St. Louis, God bless `em, St. Louis is it. They`re the big city that`s done this. The big kahuna, New York, where we usually have ticker tape parades to mark the end of the war, the mayor of New York has resisted this idea. But this story is evolving and quickly. We`ve got some news on this story tonight, some exclusive news on it coming up in just a moment. Also have to give a programming note. This Sunday morning, I will be on "Meet the Press" on NBC. Newt Gingrich will also be on "Meet the Press:" but he will not talking to me. He will be talking to David Gregory. And then after Newt Gingrich, I`ll be on with Mr. Gregory and David Brooks and Alex Castellanos and Congressman Xavier Becerra. "Meet the Press," Sunday morning. Then after "Meet the Press" on Sunday morning, you may have heard that there is a football game, while you`re watching the pre-game festivities, sometime around 3:30 p.m. Eastern, through the oscillating heat waves coming off your platter of vegan (INAUDIBLE), you will see THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW`s Super Bowl ad. We are told it will be around 3:30 Eastern during the pre-game. We also have a Super Bowl related ad for the show in the print edition of the Sunday "New York Times" this weekend. All that plus the return of Ferris Bueller and David Beckham in his underpants. It`s a big weekend. All right. That`s it for business. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: Don`t try to stop the foreclosure process, let it run its course and hit the bottom. RALSTON: So, you stick by what you said, don`t try to stop the foreclosure process even though it is going on, maybe hurting a lot of Nevadans. Listen, I understand you`re a free market guy. ROMNEY: It depends when you say don`t stop. RALSTON: That`s what you said. ROMNEY: I know that`s what I said. When I say don`t stop the foreclosure process, what I mean by that is the best way to stop it is by getting the economy going. RALSTON: Playing devil`s advocate here, sir. Look, Mitt Romney doesn`t want to help me, the president does. ROMNEY: The president has been in office three years. If they feel he`s helped them, they got to vote for him. If they feel that the economy is going in the right direction, they got to vote for Barack Obama. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: And that`s how Mitt Romney writes Democratic campaign ads. Every Friday morning, I wake up and think it`s Friday, it`s going to be relaxed day. I can take it slow, there`s nothing going on. It`s Fridays. And then Fridays keep turning in to these huge news days. I mean, today, we got the news that the Komen Foundation has caved after everybody got so upset with them for going along with this right wing defund Planned Parenthood jihad after their affiliates started balking and their staffers started quitting. After the Internet essentially sharpened their pitchforks and lit their torches, Komen has caved. The Komen Foundation is saying they are un-defunding Planned Parenthood. Also, we got this major economic news today, the stock market closing higher than it has since the financial crisis. The Dow closing higher since May of 2008. The NASDAQ closing higher than it has since the year 2000. Unemployment dropping to the lowest it has been in three years. And on the same day we get that news, Mitt Romney in Nevada says if you think the economy is now going in the right direction, you should vote for Barack Obama. OK. Meanwhile, the president announces his plan for a program to put veterans to work, rebuilding trails and roads and levees on public lands. That`s like Civilian Conservation Corps, WPA style stuff. And it is for veterans. It`s probably the most direct and efficient way to deal with unemployment in a group like this. And it`s veterans. Therefore, dare the Republicans to try to block this idea. You will hear from the veterans and veteran supporters and everybody who has ever understood econ 101 if you do. Today, not just for a Friday, but for any news day, that was just a giant pool of news. And, and, the huge deal news story barely noticed in the giant pool of news today was this one. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. MARCY CAPTUR (D), OHIO: Why should any American citizen be kicked out of their homes in this cold weather in Ohio? It`s going to be 10, 20 below zero. Don`t leave your home. Because you know what? When those companies say they have your mortgage, unless you have a lawyer that can put his finger or her finger on that mortgage, you don`t have that mortgage. And you`re going to find they can`t find the paper up there on Wall Street. So I say to the American people, you be squatters in your own homes. Don`t you leave. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That was not today. That was three years ago. You`ll find they can`t find the paper on Wall Street. That was Marcy Kaptur. With the tidal wave of foreclosures was hitting in the midst of the financial crisis, Marcy Kaptur, Democrat of Ohio, on the floor of the House was exactly right. The people trying to kick you out of your house, the Wall Street firm or bank trying to kick you out of your house, might not hold your mortgage. In order to use mortgages, in order to use your house as a casino chips so they could bet on it and profit on it and trade it wasn`t a house, it was just a piece of paper, they had to turn your mortgage in a piece of paper or into an electronic record. And in the process of doing that, in lots of cases, they pretty much legally gave up their right to foreclose on you and kick you out of your house, when they are turning houses into casino chips and destroyed the economy and destroyed housing market so you couldn`t pay your mortgage anymore. And today, in the midst of all of these higher profile news, the crusading attorney general of the state of New York, Democrat Eric Schneiderman, brought a huge lawsuit against some of the biggest names on Wall Street -- Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, over what they did to homeowners, over whether or not this is legal. And whether or not this lawsuit made it on the front page today has two huge implications for the country. Number one, accountability -- accountability for the manmade disaster that was the financial catastrophe at the end of the Bush presidency. Accountability, that`s one. Eric Schneiderman himself explained that part of it when he was here on the show recently. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF NEW YORK: There are a lot of folks who are trying to rewrite history and paint it like it was a volcano or an earthquake, and that now we can move on to the problem of paying too much to cops and teachers and firefighters. This was a manmade crisis. It was created by regulatory neglect and greed, and I assure you, without telling you anything about secrets of our investigation, we have not found a trace of evidence that a cop, firefighter, teacher or sanitation worker contributed to blowing up the American economy. We think we have to hold accountable the people that caused the disaster. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: So, number one, accountability. The other big consequence of this big lawsuit today, this the lawsuit against Wall Street field by Eric Schneiderman is that Eric Schneiderman is now part of the face of the Obama administration on accountability for Wall Street. As announced in the State of the Union address, Schneiderman has been brought onboard the Obama Justice Department`s new fraud fighting unit to deal with Wall Street crime. The Obama White House, frankly, in raw political terms is no longer being overshadowed on stuff like that by more progressive state attorneys general like Eric Schneiderman. Eric Schneiderman is now working with them. And so, yes, it`s accountability. But for the sake of national politics, it`s also that this is the unified Democratic side now. And on the other side, speaking for the Republicans on this issue, is this guy. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: Don`t try to stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom. The banks aren`t bad people. They are just overwhelmed right now. Banks are scared to death, of course. They are feeling the same thing that you`re feeling. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Bank feelings. Joining us now, Jared Bernstein, former chief economic adviser to Vice President Biden, now a senior fellow at Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and an MSNBC contributor. Mr. Bernstein, as an expert on bank feelings, it is nice to have you here. JARED BERNSTEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you. Yes, we need to put some of those banks on the therapist couch, I think. MADDOW: That`s right. What is -- what is the practical implication of this lawsuit filed today by the New York attorney general? If he is successful, does he stand to make a real difference, to change banks behavior and get some relief for people? BERNSTEIN: He absolutely does. And, by the way, that`s kind of the heart of what I think A.G. Schneiderman is all about. I don`t know anyone has tried to get to the heart of precisely that, Rachel -- a real behavioral change, holding the banks accountable in this case for allegedly fraudulent documentation. You know, if you want to hold someone accountable for defaulting on a mortgage loan, you kind of have to have the IOU. And if you don`t own the loan, you really can`t foreclose. And I thought -- it was interesting to hear Marcy Kaptur say that three years ago, as actually quite (INAUDIBLE). MADDOW: What`s the logic behind the alternate message on this, the competing message from this on the right? Mitt Romney saying that his policy, what he would pursue as president would be to let foreclosures bottom out, let them run their course. What`s the logic behind that? BERNSTEIN: When I hear that, I really go back to Herbert Hoover liquidate, liquidate, liquidate. That was kind of his solution to the Great Depression. The problem Mitt Romney is having with this is he`s just not understanding the extent of what really brought this economy to where it was in 2009, as you noted early. It`s getting better. And that was a massive bubble in the housing market which then imploded, inflated by the financial mess we were just talking about. If these were perfectly normal times, if there wasn`t an overhang of housing and all the foreclosures, some of which we have discussed could be fraudulent, if it wasn`t, if we`re not looking at all the unemployment and risk and banks, we might have a reasonable discussion about the role of government in the mortgage finance. That`s not the economy or housing market we`re talking about. Massive market failure, lots of people who will lose their home if we don`t engage in interventions that the president was talking about this week. In fact, the more aggressive the better in this regard. MADDOW: Do you have high hopes for these financial crimes, this fraud task force that the Justice Department is now heading up? President mentioned it in the State of the Union. That is a very high profile place to launch something like that. Obviously, as we`ve been discussing, Schneiderman brought on as a co-chair of that. Do you have hey hopes? BERNSTEIN: I have high hopes, in fact. And I haven`t had particularly high hopes in many of the areas in the housing space, because a lot of policy has underwhelmed. But first of all, I think Schneiderman really knows of what he speaks. He`s going after some crack -- I have a feeling he knows where bodies are buried and ways others who have gone in this haven`t. But also, I think he`s coming at this with an authority, coming from the level of the states where he really gets what is happening on the ground, particularly in New York with the securitization market. He might not have gotten as much of that from the Justice Department MADDOW: Jared, one last question. On the jobs numbers today, you wrote on your blog, "This is a critical mess aim for policymakers. We got some real momentum on the most important economic issue to the American people, jobs. Let`s not screw it up." What does "let`s not screw it up" mean? How could they screw it up? BERNSTEIN: Let`s not screw it up means we got some, as I said, we got momentum going here, quite clearly, in the job market. We`re not talking banks or interest rates or deficits. We`re talking jobs. If they were to continue to squabble about extending the payroll tax benefit and unemployment insurance benefits, the extended benefits, and fail to extend those at the end of this month when they expire, boy, that could really put a damper on again, what`s a trend that is moving in the right direction, so that`s what I mean, Rachel. MADDOW: All right. Fair enough. Jared Bernstein, former chief economic adviser to Vice President Biden, now a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities -- Jared, thanks for being with us tonight. Have a great weekend. BERNSTEIN: My pleasure. You, too. MADDOW: Thanks. All right. Best new thing in the world, a musical edition coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: News to report on this end of the Iraq war parade issue that you have been inundating me about since we started talking about it on the show. Some news on that, that`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: The organizers of the St. Louis parade to mark the end of the Iraq war and to say thank you and welcome home to U.S. troops who fought in Iraq, the regular Joe citizen organizers of that parade tonight tell us that St. Louis turned out 100,000 people for their parade last weekend, they have been contacted by people in more than a dozen cities who want to organize veterans parades in their towns to mark the end of the Iraq war. They`ve heard from people in Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Tucson, Nashville, Greensboro, North Carolina, and more. One of the objections to doing a national parade to welcome home the troops at the end of the Iraq war has, of course, been that there isn`t a national appetite to do this, that people don`t really care enough to do this. It turns out people care. A lot of people want to do this. I can tell you even just anecdotally, that has been our experience of the response we have had just covering this issue. Adding some urgency to this debate now is the fact after the Super Bowl this weekend, either Boston or New York will likely be throwing a parade for their football team for winning this weekend`s game. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America have challenged the mayors of New York and Boston with a petition saying, "If the Giants and Patriots deserve a Super Bowl parade, don`t Iraq vets?" Responding to the objection raised by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, that he doesn`t want New York to host a parade for the end of the Iraq war because the Afghanistan war is still happening -- excuse me -- the head of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Paul Rieckhoff wrote at "Forbes" today, "Americans know the Afghanistan front still rages on with the end of the combat operations not expected until 2013. But that doesn`t mean our country can`t start welcoming home those who have already returned, and paved the way for those still to come. It will show our troops in Afghanistan now they won`t be forgotten when that war ends, too." "If we can afford two wars," he writes, "we can afford two welcome home parades." Here`s the big news on this, though. Even though Mayor Mike Bloomberg has, so far, been shy on this issue of the end of the Iraq war parade in New York, it`s starting to seem like the rest of New York City government may not be so shy. They may be coming around. New York`s powerful city council speaker, Christine Quinn, has just put out a statement saying, "After the initial drawdown of forces in 2010, we called for a celebration, a parade, in honor of the troops returning from Iraq when the time was right -- when the time was right. In 2012, the time is now. A citywide celebration is in order. The sacrifices made by our troops and their families cannot be ignored and deserve to be honored by cities across the nation, New York City first and foremost." This might yet happen. In Boston, around the country, in New York, this might yet happen. Christine Quinn is going to be our guest on this show on Monday. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Happy Friday. Best new thing in the world today. Here`s the situation -- there`s a foreclosure, there`s a bunch of foreclosures. The people kicked out, banks repossessing, there`s a foreclosure auction to sell these properties. Defending people from foreclosures, blocking foreclosures from happening is something the Occupy movement has been focusing on recently. Do not take these people`s home. They need it more than the bank does. We will physically put ourselves in the way. We will do direct action. We will gum up the process. We will be there when you try to take their home away. We will pitch tents in the front yard. We`ll be in the way. When the bank shows up, we`ll turn out to stop it. This kind of direct action is not always pretty but it more often than you think works. And actually sometimes when it works, it is pretty. Sometimes at least it sounds great. Listen to this. (VIDEO CLIP PLAYS) MADDOW: Multipart harmony. The words are, "Mrs. Auctioneer, all the people here, we`re asking you to hold all the sales right now, we`re going to survive but we don`t know how." Then they repeat that refrain over and over again. The singers are from Organizing for Occupation. I`m not sure if Organizing for Occupation technically should be seen as an off-chute of Occupy Wall Street. They actually started before Occupy Wall Street was under way. So, I think that means they can`t be an offshoot. Now, the point is, they`re trying to prevent unfair foreclosure evictions, trying to keep people in their homes. This was -- a little while ago, this took place a while ago in civil court in Brooklyn. It worked. They stopped this auction. (VIDEO CLIP PLAYS) MADDOW: The group used the tactic a second time just last week, same Brooklyn courtroom, same song, same outcome. Clapping. But despite some of them getting arrested -- again, the action was apparently successful. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mike check. CROWD: Mike check. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just in case. CROWD: Just in case. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You didn`t hear. CROWD: You didn`t hear. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We shut down the auction. CROWD: We shut down the auction. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before they could finish. CROWD: Before they could finish. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were only able. CROWD: They were only able to. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To sell one property out of four. CROWD: To sell one property out of four. (CHEERS) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Direct actions to stop foreclosures are taking place all over the country. But as far as we can tell, Organizing for Occupation is the first group to use singing, to use good multipart harmony singing as their tactic. A member of Organizing for Occupation told us when we asked that the lyrics to the songs they`ve been using were written by a poet named Luke Nephew (ph). The point of the song, a member, Jay Kim, told us, is to do more than just make noise -- to try to change hearts and minds about what counts as a problem and what counts as a solution in the ongoing housing disaster. She told us that their idea is to surprise people and to try to move people while trying to stop the foreclosures from going ahead. And just like that, every chant of "hey, hey, ho, ho, insert now has got to go" has been rendered obsolete. Politics of all kinds, politics of all kinds, not just protest politics but electoral politics, and all the different ways people do politics get better when they get creative -- best new thing in the world today. I will see you Sunday morning on "Meet the Press." Meanwhile, I will meet you in prison right now. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END