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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 02/07/12

Guests: Ted Olson, Dahlia Lithwick, Christine Quinn

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Ed. Thank you very much. And thanks to you at home for sticking with us this hour. Lots to come tonight that is totally unrelated to 2012 presidential politics. Ted Olson, the very famous and very conservative attorney who is challenging California`s Prop 8 anti-gay marriage ban, Ted Olson is here with us live tonight on the day the 9th Circuit struck down Proposition 8 as unconstitutional. A huge civil rights day in the courts and we`ve got the man of the hour to talk to about it. Plus, New York City Speaker Christine Quinn is here on the day that the New York Giants get their "we won the Super Bowl" ticker tape parade -- I don`t want to hear about it, Rob. That`s enough. I`m getting teased mercilessly all day. Iraq veterans are looking at today`s parade and asking, why we can do this for football but not to mark the end of the Iraq war and welcome home the troops? So far, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says no to that idea. But the other most powerful person, excuse me, in New York besides Mayor Bloomberg is Christine Quinn. And she says she`s for this idea. Christine Quinn will be joining us here tonight. That is all coming up over the course of the hour. But first, as Ed mentioned there, it is election night again in America, sort of. We will be bringing you results as they come tonight from the Republican presidential primary in Missouri, and from the Republican presidential caucuses in Minnesota and in Colorado. At this hour, polls have closed in that Missouri primary. They closed at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time across the state of Missouri. And the results we have so far are as follows: In Missouri, we have a very small proportion of the vote in, already 2 percent in, Rick Santorum right now in first place, Mitt Romney in second place, Ron Paul in third place, and my favorite, uncommitted in 4th place right now. In Missouri, it`s important to remember, Newt Gingrich is not on the ballot. So, do not be looking for him among the results in Missouri. At this hour, the doors have closed as well in Minnesota and in Colorado. I have to say doors have closed instead of polls have closed, because in Minnesota and Colorado the state Republican Parties are running caucus today instead primaries. The doors were closed so those caucuses could start at 8:00 p.m. Eastern in Minnesota, and at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, just moments ago, in Colorado. In terms of results so far from those states, right now in Minnesota, again, we just have 2 percent in, but Rick Santorum in the lead, Ron Paul in second, Mitt Romney in third, and Newt Gingrich in 4th. Right now, in Colorado, in terms of results from that state, again in Colorado, the caucus doors have just closed. We have nothing in to report at this point, but Newt Gingrich is on the ballot, unlike in Missouri. So, we`re looking at the match-up between Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. No results yet from Colorado but we expect them to trickle in over the course of the evening. That`s what we got so far. We`ll keep you apprised with a ticker that you see right there at the bottom of your screen over the course of tonight and we`ll bring you live updates as more results come in from these three contests. Now, you may have noticed in the coverage of this today, whether you`re reading it or whether you`re watching it on TV, you may have noticed if you`re an eagle-eyed observer, you may have noticed a certain snark, a certain smirkiness, a resistance to getting too excited about these three contests in Missouri, in Colorado and Minnesota. And that smirkiness derives from the sort of uncomfortable fact that the Republican Party is a freaking mess this year. Honestly. I mean, New Hampshire, went pretty much as normal. South Carolina went pretty much as normal. But all the other states that have voted so far have screwed up or devalued in one way or another. I do not know exactly what`s going on, I cannot explain this overall, but it is the red white and blue elephant in the living room. The Republican Party`s primary process for picking their nominee for president this year has so far been a disaster, logistically. In Iowa, the night of the Iowa caucuses, the Iowa Republican Party said that Mitt Romney won. Then they said they would make that result official in two weeks. Then two weeks later, they said they still didn`t have an official result. And then they said the official result was that it was a tie or maybe that no one would ever know who won. And then they decided that Rick Santorum won. Now, the Republican Party chairman in Iowa has resigned in the wake of the disaster of the Republican Iowa caucuses this year. It was just a total, total mess. Then in Florida, the Republican Party has insisted, insisted there that their primary was a winner-take-all contest. That whoever won Florida got all of Florida`s delegates. Well, it turns out that Florida actually only gets half the delegates, because the national Republican Party stripped the state of half of them. And it turns out that it`s possible that it`s not going to be winner-take-all, no matter what the state party has been insisting. It`s possible that Newt Gingrich should have gotten some of the delegates out of Florida, as well as Mitt Romney getting some, when Mr. Gingrich placed second to Mr. Romney there. Now, Mr. Gingrich is petitioning the Republican Party to get some of the Florida delegates and nobody knows what`s going to happen there. Again, a totally inconclusive mess. Then, in Nevada, the Republican Party there scheduled caucuses to end at 3:00 p.m. this story. Then they decided to late-add an extra one that started at 10:00 Eastern, after the other ones were over. When the caucuses finally did end on Saturday night, and then they ended again on Saturday night, the state Republican Party was not able to release a final vote for Nevada for two days, after they found they had more ballots cast than voters. That itself is remarkable given the Republican Party chair in Nevada predicted a turnout of 70,000 people and they got less than half that. Imagine what a mess it would have been had they got a reasonable turnout, with less than half the people they expected, it still took them more than two days to count it. But all of that disaster upon disaster in the Republican race thus far, all that logistical collapse pales before the great state of Missouri. Tonight, Missouri voters will have the choice of these candidates -- Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and Jon Huntsman. As recently as last week, a man not in the ballot, a man named Newt Gingrich was polling in first place in Missouri but he will not be on the ballot there. Oh, but that`s the least of Missouri`s failure here. Missouri had on the books -- Missouri had on the books a law requiring the state to have its primary today, on February 7th. The National Republican Party said, if do you that, Missouri, that will cost you half delegates. Missouri freaked out and said, OK, OK, we`ll change it, but Missouri could not get its act together to actually change their law. So, by state law, they still have to hold a primary on this date. What about the threat that they would lose half the delegates? Well, to avoid losing half their delegates, Missouri decided to make today`s contest pointless. It`s nonbinding. So, it`s just a poll, essentially. It`s just a test. They picked another date next month to be the contest that will actually allot their delegates. That will take place on March 17th. But meanwhile, Missouri Republicans are doing this little exercise in nonsense today, which counts for nothing except $7 million spent by the people of the state of Missouri to hold this pointless nonsense thing. Today`s Missouri folly comes on the same day as the Colorado and Minnesota caucuses, which also mean nothing. Those states will allocate their delegates in April and May, respectively at conferences. They do not do their allocation of delegates today. Unlike Missouri, Republicans at least in these states, they will not make people come out and fake vote before they vote next month. But again, today`s caucuses do not allocate delegates and delegates is the way you pick your presidential nominee. So, yes, it`s election day, sort of, actually not really. But we will have results from some things that look like political contests in these three states over the course of this night. The comedy of errors logistical disaster of how the Republican Party handled their nominating contest this year is right now right this second doing the yeoman`s work of making a man named Newt Gingrich looked like the most reasonable guy on earth, and that is yeoman`s work. Because of all the Republicans still in the running, Mr. Gingrich is the only guy who is not bothering to be in any of these fake voting states tonight. Mr. Gingrich has gone straight to Ohio where they vote and it really does count next month on Super Tuesday. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: A big day for civil rights. The California Prop 8 same sex marriage case taking up on the gay rights side by the two lawyers who argued against each other on Bush v. Gore. That got decided today in California. Former solicitor general Ted Olson will be joining us next. And that seriously ups our batting average for getting conservatives on this show, about which I`m very happy. Also, as the New York Giants get a parade through the Canyon of Heroes in Lower Manhattan, Iraq veterans call to question as to whether they deserve a welcome home, too. It wasn`t a football game, sure, but it was an 8 1/2 year long war. The debate over that parade issue has moved to a new level. That is coming up. Plus, you can watch me lose a Super Bowl bet live on television. Please stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: For liberals and for a lot of Democrats, the 2008 election was a little bit of a mixed bag. I mean, on the one hand, there was a huge amount of euphoria about a man named Senator Barack Obama winning the presidential election against John McCain. That was very exciting and a very big deal for liberals and Democrats and for a big swath of the country. Less exciting though that night was what happened in California. California passed Proposition 8 which took away an existing right. Before Proposition 8, same sex couples had the right to get married in California and thousands had done so. Prop 8 rescinded that right, which made for a bittersweet election night and made of a little bit of confusion in the late night coverage that night. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe we have pictures out of San Francisco as well, some of the celebration pouring out of the Castro District of the city as it`s known. Place near and dear to your -- CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: To me -- certainly me having written for the papers out there. MADDOW: That may not be all celebration in the Castro when we have gotten -- MATTHEWS: Prop 8. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Prop 8 passed in California in 2008 that rescinded same sex marriage rights. But it was soon challenged in court by a very famous odd couple of very, very big deal American lawyers. The two most famous litigators in the country, David Boies had been Al Gore`s lawyer in Bush v. Gore. Ted Olson had been George W. Bush`s lawyer in that same case. Ted Olson went on to become solicitor general in the Bush administration. A conservative icon and liberal icon fighting on the same team. They won their first round in federal court with the ruling that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional. That was appealed up to the circuit court, which is just one level below the U.S. Supreme Court. Today, we got the ruling from the circuit court. They found on very narrowly construed grounds that Proposition does violate the United States Constitution. It is unconstitutional. The court found that Proposition 8 served no purpose and had no effect other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California. Joining us now for an exclusive interview is one of those very famous lawyers who got that big win today, former Solicitor General Ted Olson. Mr. Olson, congratulations. And thanks for your time tonight. Nice to see you. TED OLSON, ATTORNEY WHO ARGUED AGAINST PROP 8: It`s my measure to be here. Thank you, Rachel. MADDOW: I am no expert on these matters, especially compared to you. But the ruling seems to me narrowly construed to apply just to the situation in California, to not try to assert a right to marriage equality more broadly. Is that the way that you see it and did you expect it to come out that way? OLSON: Actually, I think it`s a very broad decision. Let me explain that. In the first place, the court said that California was somewhat unique in that, as you said a few moments ago, Proposition 8 took away the rights of same sex persons to get married. But the right exists in many other states now, and people are attempting to take that right away in other states. And, therefore, this precedent stands for the proposition that once you grant those rights, people have the right to get married, which is a fundamental right in this country, you cannot take it away from those individuals without violating the Constitution. But the court went on to stress with respect to various other issues in the case that there was no justification, there was no rational basis to single out gay and he`s lesbian individuals in this country and take rights away from them or to deny rights from them. The court went through every argument that have been made on the other side and systemically dismantled every one of those arguments. So while the court focused on the peculiarities of California, the principles articulated are quite broad and very compelling. MADDOW: When you say the court asserted that you cannot take existing rights away, but also that you cannot deny rights to couples on the basis of sexual orientation -- does that mean you see this as potentially applying potentially blazing a legal trail for states in which there are not same sex marriage rights right now? OLSON: Oh, absolutely, because what the court relied upon was a major decision by the United States Supreme Court, called Romer versus Colorado, in which Colorado restricted the rights of gay and lesbian individuals, and the Supreme Court of the United States struck that down as unconstitutional. But both in that Romer case and this case today, the court said the -- if you`re going to select a class of our citizens, these are our citizens, that are presumptively entitled to be treated like other citizens, and select them out on the basis of characteristics that are peculiar to them, you have to have a reason for doing so. The reasons that were articulated by the proponents throughout the litigation were found completely lacking by the 9th Circuit and the court below it. And so, those principles are going to be very important for states that have not yet recognized a right for individuals to get married to the person they love who happens to be someone of the same sex. The United States Supreme Court 40-some years ago struck down a similar prohibition that existed in 16 states that prohibited people from different races from getting married. In a case called Loving versus Virginia, 16 state laws were wiped out, laws that would have prevented the president of the United States, his parents from getting married in Virginia in 1967, they would have been guilty of a felony. This decision is very much like that decision. MADDOW: You were clear from the beginning that you wanted a case that could win at the Supreme Court, you wanted a landmark case -- I`m putting words in your mouth, you don`t speak that bluntly. But could this be that case? Do you see this as the likely path for it in terms of what the Supreme Court decides to take up? OLSON: We very much thought this was an important case that could go all the way to the Supreme Court. The plaintiffs in this case are individuals who have been in relationships for a long period of time. Loving individuals, the lesbian couple have four boys that they are raising in a wonderful household. The trial had eight expert witnesses testify about history of discrimination, the -- what it`s like to be gay, what it`s like to be denied the right to marry, the district judge rendered a meticulous, thorough decision and the 9th Circuit did so. This is the issue that should go to the United States Supreme Court some day. The people that we`re representing and others like those people are not asking for anything special. They are asking for the right to be treated with decency and respect and dignity and afforded the same rights we afford other citizens in this country. They are not asking for much, just equality. And I do think this issue will go to the Supreme Court, I think it will go to the Supreme Court in this case, and there could not be a better record or a better foundation for this important principle to get to the Supreme Court. MADDOW: Hearing you speak about in those terms, makes me want, I guess, to put a question to you that causes -- will require little extrapolation. The Mormon Church was the main financial backer and main provider of early volunteers to the Proposition 8 effort. All the Republican candidates for president except for Ron Paul today put out statements deploring today`s ruling, which of course went your way. As a conservative, as somebody who`s been so important in conservative politics, why do you think it that hostility to gay rights is still something that is so utterly mainstream and expected of both mainstream politician and mainstream institutions in conservative politics today? OLSON: Well, I think, I don`t know the answer to the question, Rachel, but I think it`s terribly unfortunate. Marriage is a conservative value, not conservatives own it or liberals own it -- but the loving relationship between individuals that want to be respected by their society and treated as equals is a conservative value. It involves liberty and privacy and association and identity. Marriage is a building block of our society. Young people get it. Older people are still getting it. But all of the polls are changing. People more and more are understanding that these are our American citizens, these are our brothers and our sisters, and we have got to treat them right, we have got to treat them decently, and we have got to give them the same freedom and justice that we give to other people. More and more people in America are understanding that. I`m pleased to say more and more Republicans are understanding that. I`m sad to say -- it makes me sad to say that Republicans haven`t fully understood it. But I think the day will come, and every time that we have a chance, David Boies and I have a chance to address this question, we believe we`re converting more people and persuading more people that this is the right thing. It not a conservative or liberal issue, or Republican or Democrats, when David Boies and I came together on this, our mission was to persuade the American people that this is an issue of American justice, American freedom, American equality. These are the principles all men are created equal in this country. We have got to get there. MADDOW: Ted Olson, former solicitor general under George W. Bush. The attorney for plaintiffs challenging Proposition 8, along with David Boies -- thank you so much for joining us tonight again, sir. And congratulations on your win today. I really appreciate you being here. OLSON: Thank you so much, Rachel. MADDOW: Thank you. And a programming note: one of the couples represented by Ted Olson, the ones with the four kids, are going to be on "THE LAST WORD" with Lawrence O`Donnell tonight, which is very cool. So, you`re going to have to watch that, OK? Deal? Deal. Joining us now is Dahlia Lithwick. She`s a senior editor and legal correspondent for "Slate." Dahlia, thanks for being with us. DAHLIA LITHWICK, SLATE.COM: Hi there, Rachel. Thanks for having me. MADDOW: Listening to Ted Olson, do you agree on his take on whether or not this case now goes to the Supreme Court and how it will do there? LITHWICK: Well, I agree with just about everything he said. I do think it`s really important to look back at Judge Vaughn Walker`s 2010 decision and look how thermonuclear that decision was. I mean, what he did in that opinion finding a fundamental right to gay marriage, finding an equal protection violation was whittled down by the court today. And ironically, I do think you have to read a little bit of Judge Reinhardt, the two judges in the majority of the 9th Circuit as writing something that looks like Bush v. Gore. A little bit like they are saying in states where Supreme Courts give one the right to marry, and then by referendum that right is taken away, right? Someone described it as Lucy with the football, that you can`t put it out this and take it back. In those states, when there are 18,000 couples who marry in good faith, believing they have the right to marry, you can`t take it away. That`s a pretty narrow one-ride only determination. Now, I do agree with Mr. Olson, absolutely, the language in this is so powerful, so eloquent, it really is and I remember we talked about this when Judge Walker`s decision came down, Rachel. It is a letter to Justice Kennedy of the court saying, please, please, please, this looks a lot like your Romer language from that Colorado case, please, please, please take this and find that same right of dignity and self determination for gay couples. But I do think it`s really important what the 9th Circuit did not do, which has glowingly uphold everything about Judge Walker`s determination, and hand what would have been really a smoking bomb to the Supreme Court and said, here, the most liberal circuit in the country, the one you overturn all the time, wants you to have this gift. I think they were too canny to do that. And I think, in the long run, that was probably a smart move. MADDOW: So, in terms of the next steps here. I mean, to be clear, this does not mean that people can start getting married again in California, same sex couples are still not allowed to do it, that part of it is stayed. But what we`re expecting is a decision by the people who lost today about whether or not they are going to appeal it straight to the Supreme Court or to a larger group of the 9th Circuit. If it does go to the Supreme Court, as you mentioned, it looks like it is written directly to Anthony Kennedy to try to swing him in terms of being a swing justice. Which choice do you think the losers today are going to make in terms of where they are going to appeal it and do you think that`s very important? LITHWICK: It is important. I think that there`s some reason to believe they are going to skip taking it to 11 judges on the en banc, the 9th Circuit Court. The 9th Circuit is typically seen as too liberal anyway. And I think they very much want to get this to the United States Supreme Court. The other thing that is interesting is that this case is in a little bit of a foot race with the defense of marriage cases that are coming up also being briefed in the federal appeals court. So, the other moving part here is there`s another vehicle for deciding some of these issues, some folks say a better vehicle, it really depends on which team you`re on and how you want to think about how the cases get framed. But there is another case that could possibly be a bet are case to get in front of Justice Kennedy. And so, that`s playing out here as well. But truth is there are so many moving parts and don`t forget the Supreme Court is looking at so many landmark blockbuster cases in the next year, the next two years, that that also has to factor in this, whether the Supreme Court wants to take on another huge mega issue when they are already looking at so many right now. MADDOW: Wow. Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor and legal correspondent for "Slate", I feel like it`s sort of always a big time in what`s going on in the judiciary. But for the next year, I feel we sort of need to give you an ankle bracelet and keep you nearby all year long. You don`t mind that, do you? (LAUGHTER) LITHWICK: It sounds very attractive. Thank you. I`ll take it. MADDOW: I`ll say with it a smile. Thank you, Dahlia. All right. OK. Apparently, there was a parade today in downtown Manhattan, for some sports-related thing I forget the name of the team. And for today -- and for today at least, that means the trifecta of power in New York City is one, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, two, a guy named Eli Manning, and three, our next guest. That`s coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: In Colorado right now, Republican voters are caucusing, doors closed and the caucuses started there at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. Right now, in terms of results from Minnesota, the first results from that state sort of caucuses have been coming in since the doors closed in Minnesota at 8:00 Eastern. So far, with just 4 percent of the vote in in Minnesota, Rick Santorum out ahead, followed by Ron Paul, followed by Mitt Romney, followed by Newt Gingrich. But again, just 4 percent in. Results also coming in from Missouri, a non-binding Republican primary in Missouri, so far, in the Show-Me State, 17 percent in, Rick Santorum in the lead, followed by Mitt Romney, then Ron Paul, then uncommitted. Remember, Newt Gingrich not on the ballot in Missouri. At Zero votes, guaranteed to remain at zero votes tonight, no matter how many returns come in or how many people in Missouri wanted to vote for him today, zero votes by virtue of not being on the ballot in Missouri will be Newt Gingrich. At Colorado, 1 percent in -- Rick Santorum in the lead, followed by Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. It`s 1 percent, so don`t extrapolate too much, but we`ll be watching these results as they come in over the course of the night. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Obviously I lost a bet. This is an Eli Manning jersey. He`s the quarterback of a football team called the New York Giants. They beat my team, the New England Patriots, in the Super Bowl. And I thereby lost a bet. It kind of seems like a cruel twist of fate that we lost the game, so I have to wear this on TV right now, but my secret boyfriend, Aaron Hernandez, did score a touchdown in the game. So I also have to buy everybody on set a beer. So, I have to lose the bet in both directions. But, hey, that`s how it goes. It`s fine. Here in New York City today, they held a ticker tape parade. The Giants floating down the Canyon of Heroes on a river made of several million tons of confetti. There were marching bands, and people on lunch hour, and parents who let their kids play hooky for this historic occasion. And the crowd near city hall, producer Laura Conaway found the Willis family. They had taken the subway in from Brooklyn, with a picture of Staff Sergeant Daniel Willis (ph). Sgt. Willis is now serving in Afghanistan after finishing a tour serving in Iraq. His mom Glenda Willis told us that another child of hers, a daughter, served three tours in Iraq and is now stationed in Germany. But Ms. Willis had come to the Giants parade for her son, for Daniel, a giants fan who celebrated like mad when his team won the Super Bowl in 2008 and who I think would have given anything to himself be in New York today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I promised him before we won the first one, I said when we win the Super Bowl, I`ll take your picture and go to Manhattan just for the parade so that you can be there a part of it. And I know he`s happy now and smiling. We love this. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: We know for a fact that he loves this, even without his mom telling us, because if you look back at the old coverage of the last Giants` championship in 2008, you will find a Daniel Willis of Brooklyn celebrating then too, telling the paper, quote, "I don`t know all the word in the dictionary, but I don`t think Webster has a word to describe how I feel it`s indescribable." We also know this from his post in Afghanistan. He sent this before the game. Look. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SGT. DANIEL WILLIS (ph), U.S. ARMY: Hi. How are you doing? My name is Staff Sergeant Daniel Willis from Task Force Wolf Pack. I`m originally from Brooklyn, New York. And I just want to say hi to my family in Brooklyn, and go big blue. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: From Afghanistan. After all that, Staff Sergeant Willis was there if only as a picture on his mom`s poster downtown. You cannot throw a ticker tape parade without raising the question when the city will welcome home another group of heroes, the veterans of the war Iraq, like Daniel Willis. In 1991, New York threw a parade for veterans of America`s first war in Iraq, the Gulf War parade. The old footage looks remarkably like the Giants ride through the Canyon of Heroes today, only with -- look at this - - line after line of marching troops. We heard talk of parades in other cities for veterans of the second war in Iraq. But so far only the mighty, mighty city of St. Louis has thrown one, started with two ordinary guys and a Facebook page, that did not start off what you might call an official response but the city got behind it. They turned out 100,000 people. The official response of New York has been that now is too soon. With troops like Sergeant Willis back from Iraq but still serving in Afghanistan, not now, maybe later, instead the White House is planning a gala dinner for a few hundred veterans to take place in a few weeks. Before the Super Bowl, a couple members of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, New Yorkers, put out this video calling for not just a welcome home parade but also a national day of action to help troops coming back find help if they need it. Today, we asked Glenda Willis, a mom, again, whose kids logged four tours of combat duty, one of them still at war, we asked her today about a ticker tape parade for the troops. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do you think there hasn`t been a parade for veterans coming home from Iraq? GLENDA WILLIS, MOM: I think we don`t support the veterans as they should be supported. We need to show a little more appreciation and a little more compassion for the job that they do. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: A little more appreciation, a little more compassion. I know this issue of parades to mark the end of the Iraq war is one on which reasonable people can disagree. I also know that this issue is not going away. Joining us now exclusively for the interview tonight is New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who supports a city-wide welcome home for the troops coming home from Iraq. Speaker Quinn, thank you for being here. CHRISTINE QUINN (D), NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL SPEAKER: Thank you for having me. MADDOW: While watching the parade for the Giants today, could you also picture a New York celebration for the war? QUINN: Absolutely. You know, I was sitting on the stage in front of city hall you give each one of the Giants a key to city hall. I was thinking, you know, how will we do this when we do for the veterans? MADDOW: A million veterans, right. QUINN: Right. And, you know, I was thinking we could do one for each member of the service, then I felt we should a family who lost a son or daughter also from each member of the service come up. But the point is there`s a way to do it. And there`s a way to make sure the men and women know our gratitude. And also know that we`re not just grateful. We`re really happy they`re back and we want to make it easy as possible for them to transition back into city life. Now, the way we say we`re grateful or thrilled or we`re happy in New York is with a parade in the Canyons of Heroes. If there`s other ways the veterans think we should do it, I`m hope to hearing that. But what I want is to make sure this moment doesn`t pass us by, because if we wait too long, it will pass us by, and then the "thank you" will seem late and belated like, you know, the birthday card you got from your aunt who forgot. It just doesn`t mean as much. Now, look, I don`t think a parade is enough. I think what the folks, I have said about a national call to action also needs to be heard. A parade is great, but the really, really best way we can say thank you is to make sure when our veterans come back, that they can get work. That we help them transition their military experience to civilian resumes and civilian jobs, has to be all of it together. But you know a parade is a city-wide celebration is a great way to start. MADDOW: What do you think of the objection it`s inappropriate to mark the end of the Iraq war given that the Afghanistan war is still going on, and especially given some of the people who fought in Iraq are also fighting in Afghanistan? QUINN: You know, I would be compelled by that, if veterans were saying that. MADDOW: Yes. QUINN: If other people who are veterans speaking for themselves said that, I`m not a veteran, I would say OK. But they are saying they want this, they are saying this would be helpful, so you know what? Let`s do an immediate one as it relates to Iraq and God willing, very, very soon, let`s do one for Afghanistan, because that`s what the vets are telling us. And if you look back in history when we`ve ignored their voices about what they needed, what they were feeling, Vietnam or whatever, whenever else, we`ve made mistakes. MADDOW: In terms of how this works in New York City, obviously, every city across the country that has thought about it has somebody in that city who is considering it. What happened in St. Louis touched a nerve of. QUINN: Yes. MADDOW: Something special about New York, because New York is not the capital of the country, but it has a role in welcoming in marking events like no other has. QUINN: And when you look like at the history the end of World War II, where are those iconic pictures, men and women kissing in New York City. There`s one Canyon of Heroes in the whole world. MADDOW: So, what needs to happen for this to come true in New York? QUINN: For official New York City parade up the Canyon of Heroes, it really needs to be called by the mayor of the city of New York. (CROSSTALK) MADDOW: He`s resisting the idea. QUINN: He is. And, you know, I feel badly for the mayor in the sense that he checked with the Pentagon and said to the Department of Defense, can we do this? And what Mayor Bloomberg`s office heard back from them was: no, we don`t want cities to do that. That position on the part of the Pentagon or DOD puts mayors in a tough spot, because do you disregard what the federal government has said to you? So, I really think what needs to happen is the federal government or the Pentagon needs to change their position and make it OK for cities if they want to do this, to do this. And I think, you know, really, really, I believe very strongly, if Mayor Bloomberg got a green light, we would have a parade as quickly as we have this one. MADDOW: Right now, the mayor is sort of in the position choosing between the generals and the grunts, right? QUINN: Exactly. MADDOW: Veterans organizations asking a tough position to be in. QUINN: It is. It is. And, look, I think you have to make a choice, we need to go with the veterans who are in this case speaking for themselves. But I really do think the Pentagon needs to kind of change it to a green light, so there isn`t that difficult position. MADDOW: New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, I can`t believe you`ve never been here. QUINN: I know. MADDOW: Thank you so much to be here. Will you come back? QUINN: Absolutely. MADDOW: Thank you. QUINN: Even if you`re not in Giants paraphernalia. MADDOW: I will never be in Giants paraphernalia. I can assure you of that. QUINN: There could be another Super Bowl win. MADDOW: I can assure you. Please keep us apprised as this goes. We take a real special interest in this as a show and I`d love to follow this. QUINN: And thank you for doing that. I know it means a lot to the veterans that you`ve taken this on so seriously. So, thank you. MADDOW: Thank you. I appreciate it. All right. In just a minute, we have a winner in one of the non- binding Republican contests tonight, for what it`s worth. We have a non- binding winner. That`s coming right up and I`m taking this off. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: NBC News is declaring Rick Santorum as the projected winner in the nonbinding Missouri Republican presidential primaries. The Mitt Romney campaign having sent out a memo earlier today trying to lower expectations for tonight`s results. This would be why Rick Santorum, the projected winner, Mitt Romney in second place right now, Ron Paul in third place. And remember, Newt Gingrich, not on the ballot in Missouri. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: One way to tell where candidates think they`re going to do on election night is by looking at where they plan to be when the results come in. So, Rick Santorum tonight in St. Charles, Missouri, because he knew he would have a good chance of winning the Missouri primary, NBC News has just declared him the winner there. Mr. Santorum, of course, helped in winning Missouri by the fact that Newt Gingrich was not on the ballot there. So, it was essentially our first national test of a Republican primary with only one non-Mitt Romney/non-Ron Paul Republican alternative. Mr. Gingrich interestingly is not going to be in any of the states that are holding contests tonight, which may be his way of saying "I`m expecting to go O for three. So, my message is tonight doesn`t matter. Mitt Romney, though, is going to be in Colorado. Mr. Romney expects to do well in Colorado. He won that state with 60 percent of the vote last time around. That didn`t help in the long run, of course. Mitt Romney ended up losing the Republican primary in 2008, and then Barack Obama beat John McCain nationally, and in the state of Colorado by 9 points in the 2008 election. One of the other thing things that happened in Colorado in the `08 election is that Colorado voters voted on one of these personhood amendments, one of these measures that defined a fertilized egg as a person. It is in effect a total ban on abortion and a likely ban on hormonal forms of birth controls, things like the IUD or the birth control pill. Colorado voters rejected the personhood proposal by a 3 to 1 margin. Look at that. It lost by 46 points. Now, that was a huge Democratic day in Colorado, right? It`s 2008, Obama wins by a big margin, lots of other statewide Democratic candidates do really well. So, maybe that was a 2008 thing, maybe that was just a really left leaning electorate that didn`t like the personhood thing. That`s what the anti-abortion, anti-birth control personhood people were counting on, and so, they put the same thing on the ballot again in Colorado two years later, for 2010, which of course was a huge Republican year nationwide, and overall, a much better year for Republicans in Colorado. In 2010, asked to vote on this thing that would ban all abortion and probably ban all hormonal birth control, Colorado took a second look at it, two years later, a more Republican-leaning electorate this time around, and they decided in 2010, no, again, no, no, no, by nearly the same margin. It lost by 42 points in 2010. And that was in the 2010 election, which was remember, a very Republican red tide coast to coast. Not only did this anti-contraception, anti-abortion thing fail by a 42-point margin, but the Republican who was thought to be a shoo-in for the open U.S Senate seat in Colorado, he lost as well. Remember this guy? Ken Buck. Ken Buck and his primary campaign for that Senate seat when he was competing for the nomination said that he was in favor of that personhood thing, to ban all abortion and likely ban hormonal birth control, too. And even in the reddest possible year, Colorado looked at that and said, no. Are you crazy? No. So the Democrat, in this case, Michael Bennet, was able to point out how crazy that was, and thereby beat Republican Ken Buck. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) DR. ELIZA BUYERS, OB/GYN: As a doctor, I try to protect the health of women. That`s what I do. That`s why I`m very disturbed by Ken Buck. Ken Buck would ban common forms of birth control and Ken Buck wants to make abortion illegal, even in cases of rape and incest. As far as I`m concerned, Ken Buck is just too extreme for Colorado. SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D), COLORADO: Since ken has supported criminalizing abortion in case of rape and incest, my question is -- who is going to go to jail, Ken? (END VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: That`s why we have Senator Michael Bennet, Democrat of Colorado, and not a Senator Ken Buck of Colorado. It`s because being super-extreme on abortion and against contraception is not a tenable electoral position in America, in any state in the United States of America. This past November, having lost twice in Colorado, the people who want to ban hormonal contraception and all abortions in all instances decided they would take their case to a friendlier environment. Maybe Colorado was just too liberal for them, even in a year like 2010. So, they decided to put it on the ballot in Mississippi. Good move. Doesn`t get any redder than that, right? Mississippi also rejected it by double digits by a 16-point margin. That was in November. And since then, every Republican running for president has taken up the losing side of that argument -- the anti-abortion, anti-birth control position that couldn`t even win in Mississippi. Every Republican running for president has adopted that as their national platform. And that is the remarkable and relevant context for understanding this current furor over whether or not contraceptives have to be covered on American health insurance plans. Twenty-eight states already require health insurance plans to cover contraceptives. Eight of those states require health insurance to cover contraceptives without exemptions even for churches, even for any sort of religious institution. Even some major Catholic hospitals and Catholic universities that are not located in one of the 28 states required to cover contraception as part of their health insurance coverage for their employees do so, right? But this is being turned into a huge political scandal now, I think because of the way it plays into the presidential race. This decision was made by the administration in the middle of last month, more than two weeks ago without a giant political controversy swirling around it right away. But then after it already happened, Newt Gingrich started bringing it up after the fact. And I think that reflected a two-part calculation on his part. Number one, I think Mr. Gingrich has decided he`s desperate enough to stay in the race that he is willing to be the guy lecturing the country on what it is be to be a good Catholic. It`s kind of remarkable given that Newt Gingrich is perhaps more famous for his adultery than anything else about him. But I think he also wanted to draw Mitt Romney into this thing. Just as Newt Gingrich knows exactly what he`s doing when he calls the country`s first African-American president a food stamp president, I think he knows exactly what nerve he`s hitting when he says that. I think he also knows what nerve he`s hitting when he draws the man who is potentially the first major party candidate who is Mormon into discussion of religious values. So Newt Gingrich brings this up after the fact, he raises the issue. He gets Mitt Romney talking about religion every single day as part of his stump speech and he boxes Mitt Romney in, because when Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts, he did not exempt Catholic hospitals for having to provide emergency contraception to rape victims. And so, now, Newt Gingrich has got Mitt Romney talking about religion on the stump every day, and he`s nailing him as a hypocrite that can`t be trusted on the issue. So, that`s how the politics is working for Newt Gingrich. But I will close this with a plea to my friends in media. Just because it`s working politically for Newt Gingrich and just because the Democrats are godless epitaph is a tried and true wedge issue for Republicans, it doesn`t mean there isn`t more to this story. Yes, there were Catholic voters in the last presidential election and there will be in this one, too. But the majority of voters in the last election and probably in this one, too, the majority of voters are women, and 99 percent of American women use or have used birth control, and 98 percent of the Catholic women use or have used birth control. People like being able to use birth control. And as Republican candidates try to pass more extreme litmus tests, they have gone so far right on not just abortion but on contraception that they are significantly to the right of even the electorate of the state of Mississippi on this issue. The Beltway pundit class says the White House is in trouble on this. Reality check, guys, OK? Where the White House is on this issue is here -- hey, women of America, under a Democratic president your birth control pills will be covered by health insurance, and if you don`t have health insurance, you can go to a clinic and get subsidized birth control there. If a Republican is elected president, on the other hand, your insurance may very well cover birth control and if your insurance doesn`t cover it, or you don`t have insurance at all, there are no clinics to go to anymore to get birth control pills. Planned Parenthood defunded. And Title 10 which supports all sorts of family planning, it`s the government money that`s subsidizing that stuff, title 10 gone altogether. So you can`t get it from insurance, and you can`t get it from a clinic, which means you are paying cashing out of pocket retail cost for your birth control prescription. So, on top of whatever else you are paying for your health care and your health insurance right now, American women, plan another $600 to $1,200 a year cash outlay every year if you want to stay on birth control. And that`s if you`re lucky, because if you`re not lucky, you`ll living in one of the states where birth control has just been declared illegal. So, do you want a Democratic president or Republican president, women of America? I realize that a lot of 60-something male pundits like at this issue and think, hmm, bad politics for the Democrats on the Catholic side. There is another way to look at it. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: In the Missouri Republican primary, NBC News can project that Rick Santorum is the winner, Mitt Romney in second place, Ron Paul in third place, uncommitted in fourth place. Remember, no Newt Gingrich the on the ballot in Missouri. In the Republican caucuses in Minnesota right now, only 13 percent in. Rick Santorum right now in first place, Ron Paul in second, Mitt Romney in third, Newt Gingrich in fourth. And in the Republican caucuses in the state of Colorado, only 1 percent in. No use extrapolating by for what it`s worth right now, Rick Santorum in first. NBC`s coverage of the Republican presidential primaries and caucuses continues now with Lawrence O`Donnell and "THE LAST WORD." And we`ll be back with an update at midnight. Have a great night. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END