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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 02/10/12

Guests: Dave Weigel, Doug Wead

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Ed. The sound alone totally worth the price of admission. It`s like the cartoon spruing (ph) sound of my dream. ED SCHULTZ, "THE ED SHOW" HOST: The picture of the president is absolutely priceless, isn`t it? MADDOW: Absolutely. You got the Situation Room look on his face when he`s killing bin Laden and then you got you have the marshmallow cannon, the two sides of the spectrum in terms of what emotion you can show in a still photo. SCHULTZ: That`s right. Have a great weekend. MADDOW: You too, Ed. Thank you, man. And thanks to you at home for staying with us for in next hour. Happy Friday. For his big speech at CPAC today, at the big biannual or big annual conservative confab in Washington, D.C., former Massachusetts governor and current presidential candidate Mitt Romney was introduced by this guy. This guy is the chairman of the American Conservative Union. American Conservative Union is the organization that runs CPAC. They run this whole three-day event. Shortly after Mr. Romney was done with his speech, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich took the stage. Mr. Gingrich was introduced by his wife who you see there, his wife Callista. So Mitt Romney introduced by the guy hosting the event. Newt Gingrich introduced by his wife. Rick Santorum? Who introduced Rick Santorum? Rick Santorum was introduced by his billionaire. And Rick Santorum`s billionaire opened with a joke. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) FOSTER FRIESS, SANTORUM FUNDRAISER: There is a little bar couple doors down, and recently, a conservative, a liberal and a moderate walked into the bar. The bartender says, "Hi, Mitt." (LAUGHTER) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Can I pay you to laugh? If I keep laughing, how about now? I could pay you all. Also, would Mitt Romney really walk in a bar? Your introduction at an event like this is a form of political framing. It`s like picking your running mate or where you choose to announce your candidacy or what metaphor you use in your stump speech. Those are all important parts of political framing. And usually in presidential politics, your political framing is about compensating for some perceived weakness that you have as a candidate, bolstering something about your candidacy that maybe is a little bit wobbly. So, John McCain seen as being the guy who`s been around for a long time, the old man of the party, he picks for his running mate a young, previously totally unknown Republican governor. Barack Obama -- perceived to have the baggage of a divided Democratic Party after his long fought, bloody primary battle with Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton is the one who essentially introduces him as the Democratic nominee. Hillary Clinton is the one who moves formally at the convention that Barack Obama be nominated by the Democratic Party for president. The idea between all of these things is essentially you complete me. By bringing you into my framing, I am a more complete, better political picture than I am without you. So when Rick Santorum has his billionaire introduce him at CPAC, maybe it`s not as weird as it seems. What`s the beef with the Santorum candidacy? The idea is he doesn`t have the capacity, right? He doesn`t have the support to run a national campaign and go the distance. So, having his billionaire there, is Rick Santorum showing CPAC, showing the conservative world that he`s got financial support? And that`s no small thing for the Republican field given the news today about Newt Gingrich`s billionaire which we will get to later on in the show. For Mitt Romney having the host of the conservative conference of the year introducing signals that this type of red meat conservative base conference can be a home field for Mitt Romney. It`s an attempt for Mitt Romney to reinforce his conservative bona fides. And then, of course, Newt Gingrich having his wife introduced him, that says -- well, says that he`s married to that person now. Which is maybe particularly important given his grandstanding on Catholic doctrine on sexual morality for the past couple weeks, given the rest of his history. Of all of these, though, I think the Romney one is the most important, because of how hard Mr. Romney is trying to show up his standing -- to shore up his standing with conservatives. John McCain never successfully did that in 2008 if you think about it. He still ended up getting the nomination. So, it`s not that you can`t get the nomination without seeming like a red, red, red conservative fire- breather, right? But it does seem to be the real weakness in Mitt Romney`s campaign right now and what he`s working hardest to fix. Mr. Romney just lost a number of contests to not only Newt Gingrich but also to Rick Santorum. And the Santorum thing does not appear to be a fluke. Look at what Public Policy Polling tweeted last night. Quote, "We put a national poll in the field today. And pretty clear, your leader is Rick Santorum." Similarly, Gallup reporting today that Rick Santorum is climbing fast as Newt Gingrich fades away. Mr. Santorum now in second place ahead of Mr. Gingrich. So, Rick Santorum is rising and the exit polling over the last month has been showing that it is the most conservative members of the Republican base who are turning against Mitt Romney. And so, now, having lost South Carolina to Newt Gingrich, and a trio of states, sort of, to Rick Santorum this past week, now, you have Mitt Romney trying really hard to connect with the conservative base -- not only getting introduced by the head of the American Conservative Union. But listen how he spoke to the crowd once he did get the mike. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This must be our greatest hour as conservatives. This is our moment. This is why we`re conservatives. We conservatives aren`t just proud to cling to our guns and to our religion. We are also proud to cling to our Constitution. We conservatives believe in freedom and free people and free enterprises. Conservatives constants have shaped my life. As governor of Massachusetts I had the unique experience of defending conservative principles in the most liberal state in the nation. I was a severely conservative Republican governor. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Mitt Romney, not just conservative but severely conservative. That`s how Mr. Romney talks now about his time as Massachusetts governor. He was severely conservative in Massachusetts. Really, all you had to do was ask him. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: I think people recognize that I`m not a partisan Republican, that I`m someone who is moderate and my views are progressive. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: My views are progressive -- no, no, no, I mean my views are severely conservative. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran in 1970. Look, I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush. I`m not trying to return to Reagan-Bush. I think people recognize that I`m not a partisan Republican, that I`m someone who is moderate, and my views are progressive. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Right now, the central task of Mitt Romney`s campaign for the presidency is not just about him erasing his past as a not particularly conservative or partisan Republican. It`s not about just dealing with old clips like that. It`s also about Mitt Romney trying to be all over the conservative issues of right now, the conservative issues of the moment. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How about a quick question about the state legislature, they have bantered about the proposition that welfare recipients should be drug-tested. How do you feel about that? ROMNEY: My own view is it`s a great idea. People who are receiving welfare benefits, government benefits, we should make sure they are not using those benefits to pay for drugs and I think it`s an excellent idea. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Mitt Romney is for drug testing welfare recipients. He said that earlier this week during a local interview in Georgia. And it sort of got overlooked when he said it. But Steve Benen, who is writing for "Maddow Blog" right now, has picked that up as of last night. And I think it`s important. I`m glad that Steve found it and I think it`s important. Drug testing people is something that Republicans have been proposing all over the country this year. It`s sort of like all the anti-union stuff. It`s almost like they`re all working from the same script. Republicans have been talking about forcibly drug testing poor people in Virginia, and in Pennsylvania, and in Colorado, and in Indiana, and in Tennessee, and in Hawaii, in West Virginia and in Georgia on and on and on. This is a conservative thing now. They want a government small enough it has the power to demand citizens turn over their bodily fluids. They want mass examination of bodily fluids even from people who are not suspected of drug use. Republicans in Florida were able to passed forced drug testing through their legislature last year. Get it signed into law by Republican Governor Rick Scott. And in this one place where it has been tried, it has turned out to be a bit of a disaster. When Governor Rick Scott defended his plan for forced drug testing of the poor in Florida last year; he did so on the grounds poor people just do so much more -- so many more drugs than rich people do. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: Studies show that people that are on welfare are higher users of drugs than people not on welfare. But the bottom line is this, you know -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, to that point. I would stop people in their tracks and I don`t have whatever study you`re referring to, but you`re saying people out there who need assistance, lost jobs on welfare have a higher tendency to use drugs? SCOTT: Absolutely. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Absolutely. Did I say there was a study? Absolutely. Here`s the problem -- the initial results from Florida governor`s own big plan to seize the bodily fluids of poor people in his state showed that there was a 2 percent positive rate, 2 percent of poor people in Florida testing positive for drugs. That compares to the overall state average for Floridians of 8 percent of people using drugs. So, it`s been kind of a big, intrusive government pointless expensive humiliation of poor people and humiliation of the governor, nightmare where this policy has been tried in Florida. But this is somehow a big government conservative issue now. And so, Mitt Romney, naturally picks it up and runs with it. Drug testing poor people? I`m all for that, I think that is great. Did I mention I`m severely conservative? But because this is the Mitt Romney campaign and this is 2012, in doing this, Mr. Romney has managed to screw this one up as well, because according to Mr. Romney, it`s not just people who receive welfare benefits who should be drug tested, not just people getting welfare benefits, it`s - - listen to what he says. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: My own view is it`s a great idea. People who are receiving welfare benefits, government benefits, we should make sure that they`re not using those benefits to pay for drugs. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: People receiving welfare benefits, comma, government benefits -- anybody receiving government benefits, according to Mitt Romney, will be forcibly drug-tested now, even if you`re not suspected of using drugs, anybody getting money from the government. So, Mr. Romney, you want to drug test people who get farm subsidies? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: People who are receiving welfare benefit, government benefits, we should make sure that they`re not using those benefits to pay for drugs. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Government benefits. You want to drug test bankers who got bailed out by government money? How about all the executives of oil companies. Oil companies still get $4 billion in tax subsidy, should they all be drug tested? How about government officials? They get government money, they get paid. Don`t they? How about all of Congress? How about the Supreme Court justices? Do you want to tell them personally, brought a cup with me? Should all those people be drug-tested since they all get money from the government, or is it just poor people who you are talking about? How about every senior citizen who receives Social Security benefits? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: Government benefits, we should make sure they are not using those benefits to pay for drugs. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: A universal mandatory drug testing program for people who get Social Security. Call grandma. We reached out to the Romney campaign today to find out which specific groups of people who receive government benefits he would like to forcibly drug test nationwide, we have so far not heard back from the campaign. Mr. Romney is trying really, really hard to make conservatives like him, to make them forget he used to call himself a moderate and progressive, but he is having a hard time making that case without putting the ball in his own net. Joining us is Dave Weigel, political reporter for and an MSNBC contributor. Dave, thanks for being here. DAVE WEIGEL, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks. I`m severely happy to be here. MADDOW: Severe. Mr. Romney said -- WEIGEL: Severely, painfully happy. MADDOW: -- said the word conservative, I think 26 times today. In that one speech, is that -- is he covering any of the distance toward silencing his critics? WEIGEL: Not really. The way I heard one very astute person describe it if you look at Santorum and you look at Romney, imagine them if they weren`t running for president, would Romney be talking like this if he wasn`t running for president? The sense is no. Would Santorum talk the way Santorum talks if he wasn`t running for president? Well, there`s a while he was a complete has-been and he was talking like this. So, Romney is never going to convince conservative voters that he believes in his bones what they believe. He`s only going to convince them that he has a biography that they approve of, as a businessman who hates the government, as they do, and that he can win. The first part of that I think he`s doing quite well on, those parts of the speech were quite resonant. The second part, at this moment, especially in a place like CPAC, this is a horrible week for him, after losing some caucuses he didn`t really try to win, he goes to a conference where he never really wins -- he doesn`t look like a winner in a situation like that and tough for him to convince them he can also take the election. MADDOW: Is that translating to support for him at CPAC any way because he does still have the electability argument at least? I mean, I was making an argument half in jest that Rick Santorum showing off his billionaire today, or at least his multi-multimillionaire, was a way of implicitly making the case that he`s got the support to go the distance and run a national campaign. Does Mitt Romney still own the electability serious candidate, real estate all to himself? WEIGEL: Definitely not with this crowd. I actually spent yesterday with a candidate running in Indiana against Richard Lugar. He said, one of these guys, if there is a second wave of the Tea Party revolution, one of those guys would win, Richard Murdoch (ph), and he was convinced that Santorum was the most electable Republican -- the reason being as Ronald Reagan said at CPAC 36 years ago, 37 years ago, I`m sorry, conservatives win when they draw bright contrasts in bold pastels or, sorry, bold contrasts in bright pastels, bright colors. They don`t win if they muddle the difference. Now, that`s actually not how George W. Bush won the presidency. That`s not how George H.W. Bush, some wedge issues as some other things. That`s not -- but conservatives are more convinced that ever that that is how they win. We`re talking about a population at CPAC, population that vote in the Republican primaries, a population that will vote in Arizona, the next winner-take-all primary that I think people are worried about Romney losing. MADDOW: After -- but, Dave, I mean, after Sharon Angle, after Christine O`Donnell, after Joe Miller, after all the experience of all those Republican sort of average Republicans being primaried by, you know, bold color Tea Party super conservatives Republicans and those Republicans then losing in the general election -- I mean, is there any sense among these folks there might be lessons learned from that? WEIGEL: They feel like those were anomalies. Joe Miller was actually at CPAC. Sharron Angle was at CPAC. Sharron Angle will tell you the election might not have been above board. Miller will tell you that he won -- he would have won if it wasn`t a write-in campaign that took the race from him. The way history has been written since 2009 is that before that, when they nominate the most conservative candidate who makes a clear argument, they win. And this is not -- I mean, I think Romney will do well in Michigan. He`s got states on Super Tuesday where he can make the argument that he`s most electable. And, look, let`s not get carried away by this week. The Romney campaign did not compete in Missouri because it didn`t really count -- it didn`t count at all for delegates, I`m sorry. Minnesota started to write off. And that was a bit pathetic. Colorado is the one disappointment. They don`t think that the wheels have come off this week. They are a little bit bemused by the media saying this because the pattern of this race, thus far, has been Mitt Romney falling behind some more conservative candidate, that candidate imploding, Mitt Romney coming back to lead and win some things. And they are pretty confident that can happen. But they are never going to win over these conservatives because they just don`t believe Romney is more electable. They`re going -- this is why -- you talked about Al Cardenas introducing Romney. Cardenas was very robust in his praise for Romney on stage, but later was saying, I can imagine a brokered convention. MADDOW: Wow. WEIGEL: If we don`t get -- if we get past Super Tuesday and there`s not a clear winner, we might have a brokered convention. We might have a Jeb Bush nomination. And for somebody in his position to say that -- again, I use the phrase carried away before, this week, basically we invented this reality where the primaries that didn`t assign delegates, this convention were a lot of true believer activists will talk to the media, this is convinced a lot of people that Romney doesn`t have what it takes to win the nomination, and they might go for a dark horse from nowhere with maybe a different billionaire, maybe a not a sweater vest but a sweater tunic or something. I don`t know. Different group of millionaires getting behind somebody else. MADDOW: Well, I know when Ron Paul does unexpectedly well in Maine tomorrow, I`m just going to jump right to President Paul. WEIGEL: Very confident of that, too. Yes. MADDOW: Dave Weigel, political reporter for "Slate," MSNBC contributor -- Dave, thanks for your time. Tell all my CPAC peeps I said hi. WEIGEL: I severely will. Thank you. MADDOW: Thank you. All right. Still ahead, Newt Gingrich and his billionaire need to talk. Plus, why is Ron Paul so psyched about Maine tomorrow? A member of Ron Paul`s campaign staff has generously agreed to come on the show to explain, which is very exciting that never happens here. And we have a cocktail moment in which I pay off a painful and mortifying Super Bowl bet. That is all ahead. But, first, "One More Thing" about CPAC. Yesterday during a panel discussion about something rather, organizers played tape of my appearance Sunday on "Meet the Press" when I talked about the big contraception fight in politics right now. At the panel, a man from FOX News on the panel at CPAC, a man named Cal Thomas made a bit a little bit wise crack about me. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CAL THOMAS, FOX NEWS: Well, I`m really glad, Genevieve (ph), that you played Rachel Maddow clip because I think that she is the best argument in favor of her parents using contraception. (APPLAUSE) THOMAS: I would be all for that. And all the rest of the crowd at MSNBC, too, for that matter. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Last night, I responded to Mr. Thomas` remark by saying, I`m sorry he wished I wasn`t born but I`m glad that he was born because I need FOX News guys to prove my point, blah, blah, blah. In any case, just to button this thing, first, I want to say it was really nice of Greta van Susteren, host at FOX News to leap to my defense after Mr. Thomas` remarks were first reported. Totally unnecessary on Ms. Van Susteren`s part, but really nice particularly given that she works there. Second, there was an online response to this whole thing that was really kind to me, this heartening hashtag, which is one part silly, and 99 parts moving. And, again, it was just really nice -- totally unnecessary but really nice. So thank you. But, finally, and most importantly, Mr. Thomas from FOX News called me personally this morning and said he was sorry. He didn`t mean it and he wished he had not said it. He then told me it was OK to share publicly that he called, so I`m sharing that publicly. I completely believe his apology. I completely accept his apology. People say things they regret. I sometimes say thing I regret. And as far as I`m concerned saying you`re sorry is good enough for me. So, now, we can button it. It`s done. Everybody ended up being really nice about the whole thing I`m thankful and I`m actually very embarrassed and I have to go. Thank you. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (AUDIO GAP) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think there`s a very high likelihood we`re going to win Florida. (END VIDEO CLIP) (AUDIO GAP) MADDOW: Newt Gingrich extravagantly lost to Mitt Romney in Florida. He lost the primary by 14 points. In an earlier time, a pre-Citizens United time, a big loss like that, plus the no money thing might have meant the end of a presidential campaign. But not this year -- this year, anybody with a billionaire can play. Newt Gingrich may have been suffering from a paucity of campaign donors and he may have gotten clobbered in a state he has said a must-win. But Newt Gingrich still had the one thing you really need this year. He had a billionaire in his corner. In a two-week period, casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his wife donated $10 million to Newt Gingrich`s super PAC. So thanks to his billionaire, Newt Gingrich was able to go on after his big loss in Florida. He was able to go on to lose in Nevada by 29 points and to lose in Colorado by 27 points and to lose in Minnesota by 34 points. Newt Gingrich`s billionaire, Sheldon Adelson, has subsidized weeks of big losses so far. But now, we`re learning that the multi-million dollar windfall days from Sheldon Adelson might be over for the Newt Gingrich super PAC. "Bloomberg News" reporting today that according to an anonymous source, for now, the Adelsons don`t plan to deliver another big check to float the Gingrich campaign. What? And the Newt Gingrich super PAC is adjusting its strategy accordingly, telling "Bloomberg" they are shifting focus to grassroots fundraising of amounts between $2,500 and seven figures. So, back to the old seven figure grass roots fundraising game, the old grass roots million dollar donation plan. That is amazing. But not nearly as amazing as the media freak out this week over a rule the Obama administration finalized three weeks ago, mandating health insurance coverage without a co-pay for contraception -- a rule that is a lot like the laws already in effect in 28 states. In fact, the Obama administration`s rule was actually less stringent than the existing rules in these eight states where everybody has to cover birth control, no exceptions, not even for churches. The Obama rule let churches out of the requirement to cover birth control. Nonetheless, Republicans have been very, very angry about the idea. They want hospitals and universities affiliated with the Catholic Church to be exempt from the rule as well. So, today, after lots and lots of sturm und drang, President Obama announced a compromise of sorts -- everybody except women who work for churches that is, everybody still gets access to birth control through their health insurance, but universities and hospitals associated with the Catholic Church who don`t want to provide insurance that covers birth control, they don`t have to pay for it. In those cases, they can make the insurance company pay for it, which is probably a good deal for the insurance companies since using contraception saves on health care costs. In announcing the new modified rule today, the president made it clear that he thinks this should be the end of the party like it`s 1965 birth control battle. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I understand some folks in Washington may want to treat this as another political wedge issue. But it shouldn`t be. I certainly never saw it that way. This is an issue where people of good will on both sides of the debate have been sorting through some very complicated questions to find a solution that works for everyone. With today`s announcement, we`ve done that. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: So, all done fighting about birth control, right? Wrong. Conservatives spent all day at CPAC today raging about it anyway, even after the change. After the president modified the rules so the thing everybody was supposedly upset about making Catholic affiliated institutions pay for birth control, three of the four remaining Republican candidates for president treated the CPAC crowd to a screed on Obama`s birth control rule. One of those guys will run against President Obama in the fall on an anti- birth control platform. I`ve got a new op-ed on that subject as of "The Washington Post." As of tonight, we posted a link to that at (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: A, I fixed my microphone. Sorry about that. B, we have a Friday night cocktail moment coming up for which you will not need to remember not to eat the garnish. Please stay tuned. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Tomorrow is election day, again. Tomorrow is Maine, which is state number nine, the ninth state to go through some sort of a decision- making process toward picking a Republican nominee for president. And after Iowa and New Hampshire, and South Carolina, and Florida, and Nevada, and Missouri and Minnesota and Colorado, let`s count Missouri for the sake of argument, even that we might have to change this when they vote again and it counts, but counting Missouri, Rick Santorum has so far won four states, Mitt Romney has won three states, Newt Gingrich has won one state. At the beginning of this cycle, there were like a zillion people running for this nomination. But now, we are down to four, and all but one of them has won in at least one state. The only one of these guys who hasn`t won is Ron Paul. Weirdly, though, Ron Paul seems the happiest in any of them in his "I just lost another primary and/or caucus" late night speeches, right? Ron Paul seems both happy and like he has something up his sleeve. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) REP. RON PAUL (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And we do have to remember, you know, the straw vote is one thing, but then there`s one other thing called delegates, yes! (CHEERS) PAUL: I honestly congratulate him, he ran a good campaign I said I would see him soon in the caucus states. (CHEERS) PAUL: When the dust settles, I think there is a very good chance that we`re going do have the maximum number of delegates coming out of Minnesota. We will be going to the caucus states and we will be promoting the whole idea of getting more delegates because that`s the name of the game. And we will pursue it. There is some other good news, too, ongoing caucus and it`s over on the East Coast. I think it`s a state called Maine. (END VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: Even though Ron Paul has not won anything yet, he seeps very happy and excited about his prospects, at least in the states that hold caucuses instead of primaries. Here`s the thing though, we`ve already had four states with caucuses and Ron Paul hasn`t won any of them. So, the caucus state thing may be his strategy but it doesn`t seem to be working. Or is it? After the Colorado and Minnesota caucuses this week, Dave Weigel, our previous guest this hour, highlighted a rather arcane press release from the Ron Paul campaign. Quote, "We may well win in Minnesota and do far better in Colorado than yesterday`s polls indicate." This was after the Minnesota results. This is what we all think the results were from Minnesota and Colorado. But according to the Ron Paul campaign, after those states closed, they think they might win in Minnesota. In Colorado and in Nevada, quote, "We will have good numbers among the actual delegates awarded far exceeding our straw poll numbers." The campaign says also, "In Minnesota, where we finished a solid second," it`s true Ron Paul beat Mitt Romney, but the campaign says, "In Minnesota where we have finish a solid second, we also have a strong majority of the state convention delegates. The Ron Paul campaign is well-organized to win the bulk of delegates there." They are saying they`re going to win in Minnesota even though they came in second there. Ron Paul campaign is saying even though they came in second, they could win. Again, we may well win in Minnesota. And do far better in Colorado than yesterday`s polls indicate. I want to explain what I think is going on here. I sort of need a prop. I don`t have a prop. Let`s say these are the people at the caucus, the people at the caucus love Rick Santorum -- yes, we love Rick Santorum. A great majority of us here at the caucus, we love Rick Santorum. And after the caucus meets, and they vote on who they support, the people running the caucus, the local Republican officials say, OK, people, you`ve expressed your views, you love Rick Santorum, you can leave now if you want but we`ll stick around and do some party business. You can stay or go it`s up to you. And everybody goes yes, we voted for Rick Santorum, we love Rick Santorum, we`re going to go home and launder our sweater vests or whatever. So, after these people leave, what happens in the party business part of the meeting is that the delegates get chosen to go to the state convention. And the convention is where they are going to assign delegates to go to the national convention where the nominee of the Republican Party is chosen. But once the so-called Santorum voters leave from the caucus, the Ron Paul supporters stay for the party business where the delegates are chosen, vying to be chosen as those delegates. You supposedly need 1,144 delegates in order to get a majority and to get the Republican Party`s nomination. In theory, the people who are chosen to be delegates to the convention are supposed to go to the convention and say, all the people at my caucus love Rick Santorum, therefore, I`m a Rick Santorum delegate. Whatever their personal view is in theory, we think of that delegate as reflecting the expressed view of the people at the caucus who said who they like. But what if the delegate says I don`t care what all those crazy people in the sweater vests thought. I`m a delegate for Ron Paul. That`s the Ron Paul strategy as best I can make it out. Outstay the other candidates` supporters at the caucuses in the hopes of becoming a delegate, regardless of what the caucus decided. That`s why they`re saying we may very well win in Minnesota, even though Rick Santorum won Minnesota. They are breaking the connection between who people expressed a preference for at the caucus and how that will is expressed in the bigger Republican Party process of picking of the nominee. In other words, it doesn`t matter who you voted for, your vote counts for Ron Paul. This is what the Ron Paul campaign says they are doing. It`s not a secret. Look in their press release. They`re giving examples. In one precinct in Larimer County, the straw poll vote was 23 for Santorum, 13 for Paul, five for Romney, two for Gingrich. There were 13 delegate slots from that precinct in Larimer county and Ron Paul got all 13. Not a secret. They are explaining that they are doing this. Is this legal? Apparently, this is legal -- at least it seems to be under Republican Party rules. The delegates are supposed to reflect the view of the caucus or the precinct that they came from, but nobody says they have to, and that weakness is why Ron Paul I think looks excited every night when he apparently is losing these states but he doesn`t think he is. Here to explain further is Doug Wead. He`s a senior advisor to the Ron Paul campaign, and we`re therefore very grateful that he`s chosen to come and talk with us. Mr. Wead, thank you so much for being here. DOUG WEAD, RON PAUL CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISOR: You`re welcome and I`m glad you were born, too. So, I wouldn`t have to sit and talk to myself. MADDOW: That would be very, very boring. Thank you for saying so. In this -- explaining this process, I am absolutely sure I just got something wrong, because it is a complicated process. Is there anything about those logistics I messed up in that explanation? WEAD: Well, you did a great job and you restored my faith in journalism, because I watch television and I see them saying Romney has this many delegates and Santorum this many, and as you know, not a single delegate has been awarded from Iowa or Minnesota or Missouri or Colorado or Nevada. And as you point out, we`re tracking this at the precinct level, we think we have the majority of them, we think we`ve won in Iowa, we won in Minnesota, we won in Colorado, and Missouri is yet to be seen. And we think we probably won in Nevada, because we`re counting the precinct votes. The only thing that I might add there is nothing wrong or deceptive about this, anybody can stay. You know, Woody Allen says 80 percent of success is showing up. Well, our people show up. And they have a right to do that, and they are committed, and so, they are running as delegates at the precinct level to the county convention where they will again run as delegates from the county convention to the state convention. MADDOW: Are they being open at the precinct level? Are they being open about the fact they will support Ron Paul no matter what happened at the caucus, or is this sort of a sneak attack strategy? WEAD: Oh, no, they are open. Anybody can stay, and anybody can vote -- in fact, the party is resisting this as often as they can. There have been occasions where they dismissed the meeting and relocate in another place to try to keep our people from participating. There are verbal memos that come down from the campaign in Minnesota there was a verbal memo. They don`t care to put it in print in which they told all the establishment Republicans don`t vote for any delegate under the age of 40, because they knew it would be a Ron Paul supporter. So, we`re winning fair and square. And I should point out all these rules were changed for Mitt Romney. They were changed so that the establishment Republicans could give Mitt Romney a chance to win this nomination, in spite of evangelical resistance in the South. So it`s all been set up for Romney, we`re the poor guys who come -- we don`t have Goldman Sachs money. But we`re coming in playing by their rules and yes, we have a smile on our face because right now, the big story missed until you just broke it tonight is probably, we have more delegates than anybody in the race right now, when all this is finalized. MADDOW: Sorry to interrupt there. When you say the Republican Party changed the rules in a way to gain the system for Mitt Romney, what rules do you think they changed to Mitt Romney`s benefit? WEAD: Well, of course, Florida was moved up because it was a state that would help him, Nevada and Arizona were moved up because they were states with large LDS population. It was proportional in the South, so that if Romney pulls 20 percent, 30 percent in the South, but because of his faith, a lot of evangelicals go do Gingrich or Santorum or would have gone to another candidate he still would get something. He wouldn`t be shutout. In a winner-take-all, if he`s shutout in the South, he can`t get the nomination because remember, the South is loaded for the in the GOP because it often votes in the presidential election for GOP, so it`s not just population in the South it`s based how their voting patterns have been. So, the South is -- there`s a lot of delegates in the South. So in that sense, it was gained and even the primary -- the system, the caucus systems were gained for him because it was felt he had the money and with the money, he could have the organization. We don`t have the money, but we`ve got the organization. MADDOW: I`m assuming that your overall goal is to make Ron Paul, the Republican Party`s nominee for president I realize that`s what you are in this for. But for the sake of argument, say that you do not achieve that, but you have amassed a very large number of delegates heading into the Republican convention. What would then be the purpose of amassing all those delegates, what would you use that power and that leverage for? WEAD: Well, as you know, anybody who is an observer of modern political history knows, that a brokered convention is remote. There are delegates that will move to another candidate if they get a box of Godiva chocolates on their pillow at the hotel in Tampa that night. So, Ron Paul delegates won`t go even if they are offered secretary of state. So, if we can get to a convention with a sizeable number of delegates and if Gingrich stays alive and Santorum stays alive, we could have a brokered convention. It would be a huge show, even though there is a remote possibility. And, of course, there are many things we want. We would like to see the federal reserve audited for example. And Romney is the only candidate left in the Republican Party who hasn`t taken that step. And with good reason, his honey is coming from Goldman Sachs. MADDOW: Doug Wead, senior adviser to the Ron Paul, Mr. Wead, we have the hardest time in the world trying to get anybody from any of the campaigns to talk to us. So I am -- A, very grateful you were here, but, B, I hope that you`ll come back. I think this is a huge story and you helped us explain it. And I would love to have you back on the show if you`d come back. WEAD: I thank you for breaking the story, because up until now, finding delegates for Mitt Romney -- he says he`s got them but kind of like weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, everybody thinks they are there, nobody can name one of these delegates that he`s won, except the winner- take-all in Florida and the two primaries. But in the caucus states, you can`t find them because they are not there yet. MADDOW: Doug Wead from the Ron Paul campaign -- thank you again, sir. Appreciate your time. WEAD: Thank you. MADDOW: All right. So, what happens when an emergency manager takes over your town? Static it turns out. An amazing story. That`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Good news this week for Michiganders. Michigan, after suffering through your own overlong, localized Great Depression, you are in the money. Michigan has a budget surplus of almost half a billion dollars. And OK, so Republicans got into the black in part by raising taxes on the working poor and by taxing pensions and so on. But hey, the Republican majority that governed by crisis now says the crisis is over-ish. The future is bright again. Michigan state budget director saying, quote, "The good news is we are no longer in crisis management." Yes. But tell that to the hard left town of Benton Harbor, which is still being managed very much as if the world were burning down. Last year, predominantly black, very poor Benton Harbor, Michigan, became the first city to feel the saving embrace of Michigan Governor Rick Schneider`s landmark policy, his souped up emergency manager law that allows the state to take over a town, overrule all local authority and appoint an emergency manager with near dictatorial power. The state-appointed overseer can do pretty much anything he or she wants on the town, including firing local elected position, including even abolishing the town without the town`s consent. Michigan Governor Rick Schneider`s emergency manager law eliminates democracy at the local level. Whatever you vote for, whoever you vote for, overruled by the governor`s say-so. If your town has problem, Rick Schneider`s law says the reason for those problems is because you have had a vote. You have had a say in what happens in your town, so your vote must be taken away for your own good. The essential Michigan Web site ElectaBlog calculates that using this law, Governor Schneider has been on track to take away local democracy from just over half of Michigan`s African-American residents. You cannot say that was the intent but that has been the effect in the making of his emergency manager law. A majority of Michigan`s black population put under emergency overseer rule with no local voting rights. In April, the emergency manager assigned to run Benton Harbor stripped Benton Harbor`s elected mayor and city commission of all but three official duties. They can call a meeting to order, they can approve the minutes of a meeting, and they can adjourn a meeting and that`s it. You can see how well that went over in Benton Harbor, having their votes overruled by a single-state appointed manager. And yet, even though Benton Harbor`s officials had no power, a hallowed out husk of former democracy remained. In November, Benton Harbor held municipal elections. Voters chose a new mayor, for instance. But when it came time for the new mayor to take the mundane step of picking a mayor pro temp, sort of a deputy mayor, the new mayor was not allowed to do that. The emergency manager had to carry out the mundane step for him, because only the emergency manager has power to do anything in that town anymore. So, now, Benton Harbor has a powerless, elected mayor and powerless mayor pro temp both serving at the pleasure of the state- appointed, unelected emergency manager who has unilateral authority over everything in the town. One man, one town, complete control. Benton Harbor is a very broke and very broken town. But one thing they have got is a publicly owned radio station. It broadcasts out of the basement of city hall, WBHC -- BH, Benton Harbor. WBHC 96.5 FM is a low power FM station. Its programming, local news, and talk and music. It reaches three miles from Benton Harbor city hall. The license is held by the city of Benton Harbor, has been for nearly a decade. An excellent feature for "The New York Times" magazine, Jonathan Muller (ph) recently reported, quote, "Though he has been stripped of official authority, Commissioner Dennis Knowles still hosts a weekly radio broadcast from a studio in the basement of city hall, on which he addresses issues of concern to local residents, like how to deal with a new state law that limits lifetime welfare benefits to four years. Quote, `You may also want to get in growing your own food because it`s going to get to that point.`" Or you might tune and find Reverend Jesse Jackson sharing the mic with Commissioner Marcus Mohammad (ph) who`s also been stripped of his power as a local official. Benton Harbor`s radio station, through all this, really has been the voice of Benton Harbor. It`s not much of course but it`s still coming to you live and local and real. Now here is another picture of Benton Harbor`s radio station. It`s on eBay. Benton Harbor`s emergency overseer guy has closed the town`s radio station and he is auctioning its stuff on eBay. FM low power license, broadcast transmitter and broadcasting equipment, bidding starts at $5,000. No takers so far, not a single bid. This is actually the second time he`s posted it on eBay. First auction timed out this morning with no takers, with three mics, transmitter, a mixing board, two CD players, et cetera, et cetera, cords included. The old listing on eBay, the one that expired, didn`t include the license but now he`s throwing that into for the same low price, everything must go. Presumably, somebody could buy all of this and cart WBHC down the road somewhere and start broadcasting again. We don`t know what the emergency manager intends to do if nobody bids on his enhanced posting on eBay. Can the town still keep the station? Do you still want them not to have that radio station? Even if you can`t get any money for it, even if Michigan is in budget surplus now? The Benton Harbor low power FM license for that state expires in October. Renewing the license is not on the list of duties that the emergency manager says anybody can perform except him. If he wants to do it, his call and his alone, nobody else`s vote counts there anymore. Now shutting down the radio station, no way to let anybody know what is being taken away from them next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: I love my job. Happy Friday. It`s time for a cocktail moment both of honor and of shame -- shame and honor. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 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. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That is the last time you will ever see me in a New York Giants jersey. I hereby ban that clip from ever airing again. But as eager as I was to pay off one bet earlier this week, I am more eager to pay off the second one. Thanks to Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, my aforementioned secret boyfriend who did score a touchdown in the third quarter of the Super Bowl, I now owe everybody a beer, which should be getting here any second. Yes, here it comes. THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW fake Clydesdales have arrived. And they have brought us all some of St. Louis`s finest. So, grab a -- whatever these can bottles, all right, crack it and drink to things in life that matter like football and keeping your word and everybody say it with me -- ready? Three, two, one -- prison! Here comes prison. Happy weekend. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. 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