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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 03/05/12

Guests: Steve Kornacki, Connie Schultz, Lilly Ledbetter

ED SCHULTZ, "THE ED SHOW" HOST: We do play the Davy Crockett every now and then. That song, you know? Rachel Maddow, her show starts right now. Rachel, good evening. RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: You know, Ed, I know you got the same briefing that I did when we got these jobs, which was never a funny hat on television. SCHULTZ: Yes, that`s OK. MADDOW: I`m really glad -- (CROSSTALK) SCHULTZ: This proves that New York has everything. (LAUGHTER) MADDOW: Seriously, you can get that on 15 minutes notice in Queens. SCHULTZ: There you go. MADDOW: Thanks, Ed. Thanks, man. Thanks for staying with us for the next hour. It is Super Tuesday eve. It`s very exciting. My stocking is hung by the chimney with care. It is a very exciting night, the night before Super Tuesday. We`re already getting news about where to expect the various presidential campaigns to be tomorrow night. Where a candidate is physically located on a big election night can sometimes tell you all you need to know where the campaign thinks they stand in the race. So, for example, on the night of the Florida primary, while Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich were both watching the returns come in from the state of Florida, where was Ron Paul? He was already campaigning out in Nevada, because Nevada is a caucus state, Ron Paul has a caucus state strategy. So, even though it was Florida`s night, him being in Nevada that night made some sense. On the night of the voting contest in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri, where was Mitt Romney? He was in Colorado. Now, that turned out to be awkward because him being in Colorado meant that he expected to win in Colorado and he did not win in Colorado. And then there was also the matter of him not being able to fill the room he was in in Colorado. On the night of Michigan and Arizona while Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum were both in Michigan awaiting those results, where was Newt Gingrich? He was in Georgia. Newt Gingrich knowing that he would frankly tank in Michigan and Arizona, and knowing also that he desperately needs to win his home state of Georgia in order to make a credible case for staying in the race. So, where you are on an election night speaks volumes about your campaign strategy and expectations. And tomorrow night, on Super Tuesday, Rick Santorum will watch the returns come in the Super Tuesday returns -- he will be watching those returns come in from a place called Steubenville, Ohio. Steubenville, Ohio, is out on the eastern edge of Ohio, out by Rick Santorum`s home state of Pennsylvania. And Mr. Santorum being in Steubenville tomorrow night is an interesting choice. It`s interesting because even if Rick Santorum wins the state of Ohio tomorrow, Rick Santorum likely cannot win any of Steubenville`s Ohio available delegates, that`s because Steubenville is one of three Ohio districts where the Santorum campaign failed to submit the necessary paperwork to be eligible to win any delegates if Mr. Santorum does well there. Oops. In addition to those three districts, there are six other districts in Ohio where the Santorum campaign has only submitted partial paperwork. That all means of the 63 delegates that are up for grabs tomorrow night in Ohio, more than a quarter are unwinnable for Rick Santorum even if he does great in the state. Mr. Santorum has the same problem tomorrow in Tennessee, where he currently has a completely empty slate of delegates. He also had this problem in New Hampshire. And looking ahead, Mr. Santorum will have the same problem in Illinois, where his campaign has failed to submit the required amount of delegates in four of that state`s congressional districts. Frankly, Rick Santorum`s campaign is lucky that Mr. Santorum is even on the ballot at all in the state of Indiana. They had to contest the findings of the largest county in Indiana because that county had initially said he had not turned in enough signatures to get on the ballot there. The Rick Santorum campaign is a mess. The Rick Santorum campaign is like a Formula 1 race, and everybody is in a Formula 1 car. Rick Santorum is in a pinewood derby car. I mean, whatever you think about him as a candidate, his campaign cannot seem to put its pants on one leg at a time. They can`t do the basic stuff of running for president. The stuff that has nothing to do with whether or not you were popular, whether or not you have a lot of money, just means that you`re together enough to do the logistical paperwork, they have not been able to do that. Frankly that makes it more amazing that Mitt Romney is having a hard time beating this guy. But in the Republican nominating process, Rick Santorum being a mess of a campaign has sort of been the least messy of all their messes. In a normal year, with a normal political party running these things, the big deal state tomorrow would be Virginia. All eyes would be on Virginia. But the Republicans -- and this is just the Republicans, it`s them as a party, them making their own rules and their own decisions, has nothing to do with Democrats, nothing to do with the state, Republicans only in the state of Virginia managed to organize a presidential primary this year in which only two candidates qualified to be on the ballot. So, in Virginia tomorrow -- yes, there are 46 delegates at stake. But who cares, nobody is contesting it because they can only go to Mitt Romney or Ron Paul, thanks to the Republican Party screwing up the ballot process so badly there. Out of the 13 states that have voted so far, seven of the states had huge screw-ups in the way they ran their races. And that`s before we have the huge screw-up in Virginia to expect tomorrow. Watching the Republicans trying to pick the nominee is like a drunk trying to get their key in the door. I mean, in Iowa, it was Mitt Romney, no -- I don`t know who won, it was a tie, no, I mean it was Rick Santorum - - Mitt Romney, Santorum, OK, let`s say Santorum won. Was it Santorum? It was two weeks ago. I can`t even remember. I wasn`t drunk. In Florida, Mitt Romney won, he did win, but the state Republican Party said they wanted their delegates to be winner take all. It turns out they are not allowed to be winner take all for their delegates. So, now, Newt Gingrich is contesting Florida`s delegate. He`s trying to get half Florida`s delegates since he won half the state. Nobody knows at this point what the outcome of Florida is going to be. In Nevada, we didn`t know the results for two days after the caucuses there. And remember in Nevada, the Republicans had caucuses for the whole state and then they had a whole extra caucus later on after all the other ones were done. Extra caucus at the Sheldon Adelson school. In Missouri, part of the reason nobody can say how many states have voted or how many delegates have been allocated is because Missouri held a wholly election had no meaning at all. The Missouri primary on February 7th was required by state law which Republicans in Missouri could never figure out how to change. And so, they held the state law required primary and it had a Missouri result, but they`re going to pretend that result didn`t happen. And they`re going to hold a caucus and say that one will count. And I`m sure that will go smoothly, right? In Maine, the state Republican chairman declared a final result before whole swaths of the state had even voted. First, he said those parts of the state wouldn`t count at all. Then he said, OK, maybe they will count but it won`t change the results. In Michigan everybody thought the suspense was going to be over whether or not Mitt Romney could win in the home state. But it turns out the suspense in Michigan is whether or not the state Republican Party can figure out who wins the state`s delegates. The rules the Michigan Republican Party announced before the voting essentially said those Michigan results like they had there last Tuesday would give 15 delegates each to Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. But then after the results came in, the state Republican Party said, no, no, no. You misunderstood. Actually we think we`ll give more delegates to Mitt Romney than we will to Rick Santorum. We know we put out those other rules but shut up. That`s why three lonely "We love Rick Santorum" protesters turned out in Lansing, Michigan, today, to protest the delegate allocation at the Republican Party state headquarters. The Santorum campaign is now asking the national Republican Party to step in and investigate the whole Michigan delegate mess. In Washington state, which voted this past weekend, Republican Party officials there in inexplicably locked 1,500 people out in the cold, out of the caucuses. It happened in Benton County, Washington. Republican officials first tried to say that all of these people who got locked out of the caucuses should have been locked out because they turned up late. Those officials have since apologized to the 1,500 or so voters who were locked out in the cold. State Republican officials admitting they just weren`t prepared for them to show up. But in any case, they`re just going to count the Washington result, this is the locked out people as being a result for Mitt Romney. And Mitt Romney did win the Washington caucuses by some distance. But if you care about who got second place, second place was actually really close between Ron Paul and Rick Santorum. So, 1,500 people turning out for the Republican caucuses, and getting locked out in the cold for no reason might absolutely have made a difference in Washington. But, you`ll never know, this is how Republicans run things. Sometimes, you get locked and sometimes you don`t get your vote counted. Good luck. And, now, of course, tomorrow is Super Tuesday, which should be super interesting -- if not for the eventual results, then at least for the laugh out loud disasters that Republican Party officials have made at each subsequent state contest this year. Now, I don`t know if it has anything to do with the fact the states have been screwed up and so many of the results have been in question and a lot of these places nobody really knows who won or whether it meant anything they did win. But the biggest Republican organizational problem with their nominating process this year may not be what`s happened state-by-state, their inability to get candidates on the ballot, or to let people vote or to count those votes, or to decide what those votes mean. The big picture organizational problem may not just be the individual failure in all these successive states. It may be the big over-aching problem that the Republicans designed their primary contest this year so that it basically goes on forever. Why is it called Super Tuesday? Super Tuesday got the name super in part because it`s a lot of states voting. Super. But also because Super Tuesday is supposed to be so many states, so many delegates, that it is one day that can decide the race. It`s the day when somebody can clinch the nomination. That`s the way it usually works. Not this year, though, not for Republicans. This year, no matter what happens tomorrow night, still nobody clinches the nomination. As long as somebody has got an eccentric billionaire writing them checks, the race goes on, even after tomorrow, no matter what happens. Seriously. Even the Republicans said they were inspired by the Obama versus Clinton long primary in which got Democrats very excited and very enthused about their party and voting in November, the Republican contest this year is not having an Obama versus Clinton kind of effect on the Republican electorate. Check this out, in a new NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll that came out today, the number of adults who say the Republican nominating process has given them a less favorable impression of the Republican Party is four in 10. The number of adults who say the GOP nominating process has given them more favorable opinion of the Republican Party, is just above one in 10. That is not good for the Republican Party. The longer this thing goes on, the more people hate Republicans. Now, this next part from the poll I`m just going to read this verbatim because if I don`t read it directly, you`re going to think I`m talking smack. So, let me just read this. "When asked to describe the GOP nominating battle in a word or phrase, nearly 70 percent of respondents, including six in 10 independents and even more than half of Republicans answered with a negative comment. Some examples of these negative comments from Republicans" -- these are just Republicans, self identified Republicans. Here are the words Republicans are using to describe the Republican contest. Ready? Unenthusiastic, discouraged, lesser of two evils, painful, disappointed, poor choices, concerned, underwhelmed, uninspiring, and depressed -- so say the Republicans. Right now, Gallup says the favorability rating for the Republican Party`s likely nominee, Mitt Romney, is 39 percent. At this point in the race in 2008, John McCain was at 56 percent. At this point in the race in 2000, George W. Bush was at 58 percent. Even poor little Bob Dole at this point in 1996 was at 49 percent, and that was worrying everyone. Mitt Romney`s 10 points below that. If you like Republicans screw stuff up, this long drawn out process of them trying to choose their nominee this year has been fun to watch. But has this been more than just a comedy of errors for the Republicans? Is there a way that Republicans could turn this primary process and mess it has been this year to their advantage for the general election? Joining us now is Steve Kornacki, senior writer with Steve, thanks for being here. It`s nice to see you. STEVE KORNACKI, SALON.COM: Sure, you too. MADDOW: Is there any way for the Republicans to turn what I think has been a long, drawn out primary mess to their advantage? Is there a way this works for them? KORNACKI: Well, I guess the good news that comes out of this at least looking like right now, is the Republican nominee is not going to be named Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul or Rick Perry. MADDOW: Yes. KORNACKI: They`re going to get probably their most electable or maybe least unelectable option, so that helps. The other thing to look at is, you know, Bill Clinton went through a meat grinder of a process on the Democratic side back in 1992, the year he got elected president. His comment coming out of that process, when his poll numbers were really low, probably about as low as Mitt Romney`s are right now, is that no one can run for national office in this country and actually gain votes going through a presidential primary process. Now, again, his process was particularly damaging, you look at more recent ones. It wasn`t nearly as bad for them as it was Clinton, as it was for Romney. But I think the Clinton example really looms large as we look ahead to the fall, because there were a lot of reasons Bill Clinton turned that around, but the biggest was the economy. It was bad early in `92 and it got worse as the year progressed, and I think that gave him an opportunity to kind of hit the reset button of spring and summer of that year, and people gave him a fresh look, his favorability numbers really jumped that summer and into that fall. MADDOW: I went through all the NBC/ "Wall Street Journal" favorability numbers, over a long period of time, to sort of crunching those numbers, seeing if there are patterns. And over the past year, we`ve seen Mitt Romney`s favorability -- sorry, with Mitt Romney`s favorability numbers, the number of people who don`t have an opinion has dropped by about 15 percent. And the number of people with an unfavorable opinion of him has gone up by about 15 percent. Is that inevitable? Is that case that Bill Clinton was making inevitable, that as people get to know you, a pretty good proportion of them are going to get to know you because they don`t like you? KORNACKI: I mean, that`s part of it. But I think part of problem here for Romney is the sort of the basic unspoken proposition of the Romney candidacy for Republicans at the outset of this process was, hey, the economy is in terrible shape, people want to blame Obama, we just need to put somebody up who`s harmless enough, who sort of the -- you know, a blank slate and people will vote for him because, hey, he`s competent enough. That`s basically the thing about Romney. The pitch is not that he has a great personality, he`s got a great plan. It`s just he`ll be good enough for them. And the problem is two things have happened, one is that the economy in the last five, six months has really started to sort of show some signs of life. So, that`s hurt the Republicans. But the second part is, the Republican brand itself, because of the Tea Party, because of Republicans how they handled congressional majority, because of the actions of Republican governors in some major states around the country, because of the birth control, the social stuff we`ve seen for the last month, the Republican label right now is really in as bad shape as it`s been since the Clinton impeachment in the late 1990s. This is a profoundly unpopular party right now. So, if you sort of have this sort of, I don`t know, blank empty vehicle like Mitt Romney, that gets attached to him. It gets attached to him more than it would a guy like Clinton who had a lot of personality. Clinton did not have to deal with the brand poisoning that I think Romney has to deal with. MADDOW: And is that also inevitable that we`re seeing the generic idea of the Republican Party get less and less attractive to the country as the primary goes on? Is there a way to have the primary not necessarily in the way that makes you love everybody who`s in it, but that makes you like the party? Didn`t that happen with Democrats in `08? KORNACKI: Right. That`s the thing. I think this process is sort of exposed in a way what the Republican Party has become and sort of who makes up the Republican Party. And it`s forced Romney to move so far to the right on so many issues. It`s given him no room to sort of come back to the middle. I don`t even know if he`s going to be able to do that the way a normal nominee would in the fall campaign because again, this base is really holding the feet to the fire, in a way we haven`t seen before. MADDOW: I will say that A, I think that is true, and B, the specific issue how he fumbled the Rush Limbaugh birth control apology stuff is the subject of our next segment. So, thank you very much. Steve Kornacki, senior writer with, thanks a lot. KORNACKI: Sure. MADDOW: We`ve got that coming up. Plus, Lilly Ledbetter is here for the interview tonight. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: The conservative magazine called "The National Review" today posted online an interview with the guy who people used to think might be the vice presidential nominee of the Republican Party this year. Not many people think that about him anymore. And in this new interview, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell complains about the reasons why. Asked about the overrule your doctor state-mandated ultrasound bill that Governor McDonnell says he will sign and which will forever change the initials V.P. next to his name from vice president to vaginal probe. Governor McDonnell complains in this interview that this frankly is just getting too much attention. He blames the press saying if you read the papers, you have no idea what`s going on. He also says the idea he focused on divisive social issues is, quote, "patently inaccurate". These protest scenes that we`re showing here are from the state capital in Virginia this weekend where a crowd estimated at 850 people turned out to protest governor ultrasound and this new bill he still says he will sign. And yes, those are police in SWAT-team style riot gear on the scene as these protesters are arrested. Anybody could understand why Governor McDonnell would no longer want to be associated with the forced ultrasound cause that he has so long supported. Now, that it`s getting attention and it turns out it`s really, really unpopular, especially in his home state. But if you want to put something like this behind you, you have to do more than tell people to stop caring about it. Governor, this is your agenda, people care, Virginians seem to be mad about it. This is your legacy even if you don`t want it to be your legacy. Like Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh is also having trouble getting away from people`s outrage against him. He`s failure to escape that outrage is, in fact, now bringing some of it down on presidential candidate Mitt Romney. And that story is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: I was late to work today. And it was because I had a really nice lunch. I had a nice lunch with this guy. That`s me and conservative columnist Cal Thomas, who I met today in person for the first time. We had a really nice lunch. I feel OK talking about this publicly because Mr. Thomas wrote a column about the fact we were going to do this, so everybody who cares about us having lunch knows about it already. The reason we met today is because Mr. Thomas made a comment about me at CPAC this year, an insulting comment and he felt bad once he said it. He called me the following morning and he apologized to me. His apology was really contrite and really kind. He then went a step further and wrote about it publicly, apologizing again in print in an unqualified totally sincere way. He said, quote, "I had embarrassed myself and was a bad example to those who read my column and expect better from me." An apology like that is a really easy to accept. I mean, if you believe people screw up and that apologizing is the right way to deal with the screw-up, then it`s very simple. When you are confronted with a sincere uncomplicated apology, it is the easiest thing in the world to accept that. A good apology, a real apology essentially erases the mistake. I mean, you don`t forget it happened, but you really do forgive it. It`s not hard, you move on, you learn from the experience. And you sometimes get a nice lunch with a big tall conservative guy who turns out to be very nice and very funny. Anyway, a sincere apology I have always felt is like magic. It really does make bad things go away. That said, an insincere apology or bad apology does not work the same kind of magic -- which is why conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh is still in the news today, still losing major advertisers -- at least nine at last count. And, today, for the first time, losing radio stations that carried his program. "The Huffington Post" reporting tonight on two radio stations announcing plans to drop Mr. Limbaugh`s program. And he`s now facing the possibility that he could be dropped from Armed Forces Radio, which is a really important place to be if you are in political talk radio. All this is part of the continuing fallout from Mr. Limbaugh attacking a Georgetown University law student as a slut and a prostitute and somebody who ought to put her sex tapes on line -- someone who advocate forward insurance coverage for contraception because she was a morally despicable person and a shame to her family. Mr. Limbaugh made those attacks over three days during his show last week. Then, over the weekend, he issued a statement which had the word apologize in it but which also said that he was just trying to make a joke and that people were wrong to care about what he said in the first place, and that it wasn`t meant as a personal attack, and he said that his overall argument, frankly, was still true. Mr. Limbaugh then went back on the radio again today and said that the only reason he attacked this lawsuit in the first place is because he was possessed by the left, that the values of the American left wing made him say these awful things. And furthermore, the only thing he really apologized for were two specific words, the words slut and prostitute, words that he used against the law student, he presumably meant all the rest of it. When you apologize like that, there is no magic. Nothing gets better. And so, the pressure is continuing today on Mr. Limbaugh`s remaining advertisers. And now that the first two stations have dropped his program, expect further pressure on other stations around the country, particularly where he is not very well-rated, to drop his program as well. Beyond Mr. Limbaugh`s profit margin, however, it seems that the biggest political impact of his failed attempt at a sort of apology may be on the Republican presidential race. Here was how Mitt Romney answered when he was asked on Friday about Mr. Limbaugh`s comments. Remember, this was before Rush Limbaugh apologized, sort of, about what he said. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`ll just say this, which is it`s not the language I would have used. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: It`s not the language he would have used? Like he wouldn`t have said slut or prostitute, but other than that you were cool with it? Mitt Romney is giving the same caliber of apology for Rush Limbaugh that Rush Limbaugh did. And remember, what Rush Limbaugh said, among other things, that this young woman was a slut and prostitute who couldn`t afford contraception because she had too much sex, because in Rush Limbaugh`s mind, the more sex you have, the more birth control pills you must take or something? The only problem Mitt Romney has with all that is that he wouldn`t have used that specific language but the rest of it is OK? This started off as a Rush Limbaugh problem. Still is a Rush Limbaugh problem, it`s not getting any better for him. But it is now also a Mitt Romney for president problem. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rush Limbaugh, who is obviously a prominent radio personality, does he have some power within the Republican Party? SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Sure, absolutely. He has influence because he has a strong conservative base. I know that. But those statements were unacceptable, in every way, and should be condemned by everyone no matter what their political leanings are. GEORGE WILL, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: It`s the responsibility of the conservatives to police the right and its excesses. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the problem is the Republican leaders, Mitt Romney and other candidates don`t have the courage to say what they say in quiet, which they think Rush Limbaugh is a buffoon. WILL: The Republican leaders are afraid of Rush Limbaugh. They want to bomb Iran but they`re afraid of Rush Limbaugh. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. If I were Mitt Romney I would stand up and say, we need to change the political discourse in this country. (END VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: Joining us now is Connie Schultz. She`s a Pulitzer Prize- winning syndicated columnist for "Creators Syndicate". Connie Schultz, it`s great to see you. Thanks for joining us tonight. CONNIE SCHULTZ, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: It`s wonderful to be here, Rachel. MADDOW: Am I being too harsh on Mr. Romney, along with those conservative and independent pundits, that you saw there? These weren`t his comments in the first place. They were Rush Limbaugh`s comments. But did Mr. Romney have to be more forceful here than saying that Rush Limbaugh used words he wouldn`t have used? SCHULTZ: Let me rescue you from this worry you`re being too harsh. I am -- you know, when I -- I watched Ms. Fluke`s testimony live. And we have -- our oldest daughter is exactly her age, just almost exactly and she is in law school. And we have three other young women, two daughters and a daughter-in-law, mother of our only grandchild, all of reproductive age. Rush Limbaugh does not understand what he unleashed when he said those words because, you know what? He went after my girls. He went after the girls of mothers all across this country regardless of their politics. And that is what he has completely underestimated -- as have these candidates. What is the down side to saying you don`t ask women, young women to post video, he asked for video, Rachel, of this young woman. He called her a slut because she wanted to be responsible about birth control. They have no idea yet it seems to me, what`s been unleashed but they are about to find out. There is no going back on this one. And that was not an apology. I do not understand why -- you know, you talked about Cal Thomas. What a class act thing to do. By the way, we`re very happy you were born. And I was so upset when I heard he said that, but he apologize and as you said sincerely. Rush Limbaugh has not apologized as far as I`m concerned, and he does not -- he has so, so misunderstood how parents, mothers and fathers feel about this, not to mention all the young women who are so smart, who are so brave, who are not going to take this. MADDOW: Connie, you`re getting at something I think has been hard to articulate in all of this, which is that this isn`t your standard political or even ad hominem insult. There is the fact that he used word slut and prostitute, that he used these gendered terms against a young woman speaking out on an issue of sexual health, and that has -- the way you`re described it, it`s unleashing something. It`s landed in a different way than a typical insult would, even in a typical slander would. And why do you think that resonates among women in that way specifically? SCHULTZ: Well, I can tell you why it resonates for women of my generation, we remember hearing these sort of things when we were first fighting for this right. I remember hearing this in the 70s. We were hearing this if we dared not to wear bras to the classroom in college. And what we never guessed after all these years, after all this progress, that we would be back to this and that he would be going -- and I can`t emphasis this strongly enough, Rush Limbaugh, you went after my girls when you said that. You went after my beloved daughters, when you said that, and you have crossed a line that you cannot recross. And what I`m concerned about now, Rachel, is that especially the young women that we`re seeing stepping up -- I would say to them directly to you young women, this is your fight now. We -- and what I would say to my generation of women, we need to support them but we need to get out of the way for them to own this because it`s your fight now. It is my daughters fight and it is your generation, Rachel, I`m enough older than you, I`m 54 years old. I got a lot of energy on this, but I don`t have the same stake in this that these young women do. And I am so impressed with how vocal they have become, how outspoken and how they will not stand down and I can`t tell you how that has inspired this 54-year-old mother in Ohio. MADDOW: You know, you are in Ohio, I should mention here as an issue -- as a matter of full disclosure also it`s relevant your husband is Sherrod Brown, U.S. senator from Ohio. And Ohio`s politics -- I mean, heading in Super Tuesday, Ohio state-based politics have been very much hit by this Republican tide of sharply anti-abortion legislation, Ohio has had a raft of different anti-abortion measures, including a lot of them similar to the ones that have really got people protesting very angry across the state. Do you think that has changed the way that women will be voting? Do you think it`s changed the way people are thinking about electoral politics? SCHULTZ: I do. And I`ll tell you one of the reasons that I think -- I have been at a number of Planned Parenthood rallies or speeches in the last few months in Ohio, and I have been attending these for years. I have always pro-choice, and you mention my husband. You know, I looked up his record on choice and on gay rights before I even go out with him. So, he had to be where I need him to be. The difference in Ohio now is the rooms are packed with young women. The rallies are packed with young women. I remember the rally I went to in Cleveland in September, hundreds of young women in pink tee shirts, that`s what`s changed. And if that`s going on in the state of Ohio, you really are talking about a major shift that young women are starting to understand and embrace this as their cause. And I`ll tell you, they`ve got a lot of energy. And as I said earlier, I`m inspired by what they are doing here and I`m quite heartened by it. MADDOW: Connie Schultz, Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist, Creators Syndicate -- Connie, it`s always a real pleasure to have you here. Thank you for joining us. SCHULTZ: Thank you, Rachel. MADDOW: I will say -- I remember terms of what Connie is talking about how this is surfacing, being in New Hampshire right before the New Hampshire primary this year, seeing hillsides covered with campaign signs for all the different candidates and in every intersection, as soon as you got --especially if you got near Manchester, were signs for people saying they stand with Planned Parenthood. Right there among all the candidates. What she is talking about is real. All right. The interview is Lilly Ledbetter, which is awesome. I`m so looking forward to that. Stay tuned. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: It is Super Tuesday eve. And although there is no fight on the Democratic side this year, like there is on the Republican side this year, it turns out there is plenty of fight on the Democratic side this year. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Change is health care reform that we passed after a century of trying. Change is the fight we want to stop handing $60 billion in taxpayer subsidies to banks, to process student loans, and give that money directly to students and families who need it. Change is the fact for the first time in history you don`t have to hide who you love to serve the country you love because we got rid of "don`t ask, don`t tell". Change is another promise I made in 2008 for the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq, we put that war to an end. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: President Obama speaking at a fund-raiser in New York City a few days ago. Other items the president reminded the crowd, he has checked off his to-do list -- saving the auto industry, raising fuel efficiency standard, moving Osama bin Laden from the alive category into the dead as a doornail category. But the very first accomplishment the resident has been touting on the campaign trial is the very first piece of legislation that he signed as president. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: Change is the first bill I signed into law. Pretty simple law, it says women deserve an equal days pay for an equal day`s work because we want -- (APPLAUSE) OBAMA: Because I want my daughters to have the same opportunities as someone`s sons. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That bill was called the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The president signed that bill on January 29th, 2009, the first law he signed as president. That`s Ms. Ledbetter walking with the president there on that day. Let`s say you find out on the job that you`re being paid less than your male coworker and you have reason to believe that your lesser pay is because you are a woman. It`s discrimination. Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, you got 180 days, six months from the discriminatory act to file a complaint. What is a discriminatory act? Well, every discriminatory paycheck you get. But in 2007, the John Roberts-led Supreme Court says it doesn`t start ticking with the last paycheck you got, but with the first discriminatory paycheck you got, even if you had no idea that you were being discriminated against. And how would you know since most of us don`t have any idea what our coworkers make. That ruling effectively made it impossible to sue for being paid less because of your sex. The anti-discrimination law was still on the books, but that ruling by the Roberts court made the law effectively unenforceable. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was so incensed with that 5-4 ruling that she took the very rare step of reading her dissent to the ruling out loud from the bench. And the woman whose case was the subject of that ruling, after that ruling she got to work. She is Lilly Ledbetter. She had worked at Goodyear for nearly 20 years before she discovered she was being paid 40 percent less than men who were doing exactly the same work. When she lost that case at the Supreme Court, she kept working. She took her case to Congress and in Congress, she won. And being able to put his signature to that win is one of the things that president has been bragging on ever since he did it, and getting big applause every time he does so. Joining us tonight for "The Interview" is Lilly Ledbetter. She has a new book out about how this all happened. It`s called "Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear and Beyond." Ms. Ledbetter, thank you so much for being here. LILLY LEDBETTER, AUTHOR, "GRACE AND GRIT": Thank you. Thank you. MADDOW: Did explain that right? LEDBETTER: You did. You did a wonderful job. Wonderful job. You sized the situation up, exactly right. And the president takes a lot of credit for signing that bill and it was so historical, because it put women and their families back out front. It gives them the right when they find out that they are being mistreated in their pay, then they can file the charge the same as I had done. MADDOW: So it essentially reinstates what the Supreme Court undid with that ruling against you. LEDBETTER: Exactly. MADDOW: You were working at Goodyear for 19 years when you found out you were being paid thousands of dollars less every year than your male colleagues who are doing the exact same job. Can you -- you write about this beautifully in the book -- but can you just explain how you found out that 19 years into it that you were being paid less? LEDBETTER: Someone left me an anonymous note, tipping me off that me and my counterparts, the four of us had the same job, we had been paid drastically different. Mine was 40 percent less than theirs, just the base pay. And that meant my overtime pay was not correct, not what I was entitled to legally under the law. And that also affected my retirement, my contributory retirement, 401(k) and today, my Social Security as well. And that`s why I`m so passionate about the book and telling the story, and what I do today because this is detrimental to our American families and is putting this country drastically behind. MADDOW: By the time you figured out and again because of an anonymous tip, did you ever find out who gave you the tip? LEDBETTER: No, I did not. Some Good Samaritan though, because had I not gotten that tip, I would have retired and gone on in my retirement never knowing how I had been mistreated. MADDOW: Over the course of your career at Goodyear, do you know how much money that added up to in terms of the disparity between you and the male coworkers? LEDBETTER: No, but it`s a drastic a lot of money. MADDOW: Yes. LEDBETTER: It`s been estimated it`s over $250,000 but it`s much greater than that. MADDOW: I don`t -- I don`t mean to be presumptuous by reading to you from your own book, but I just -- I wanted to ask you about this when I read it. You right after you talk about getting that anonymous tip, you write about going in the ladies rest room, and thinking about it. "I stood frozen finally raising my eyes to the ceiling," you`ve just been stung by what you learned. Then you say, "After a few minutes, I knew I had to get it together or I would be late. That is when I felt the shame, the haunting humiliation deep in my bones, as the numbers kept looping through my mind, I couldn`t shake the realization of how stupid I had been to try so hard and to think it would pay off. I want so badly to win approval and I had so in the eyes of most of my co-workers who valued my hard work and loyalty and who gave it back to me." Why shame and humiliation, why did you feel those things? LEDBETTER: Because the amount of pay and our job is basically how we identify ourselves. And that was sort of accomplishment in my life I had worked so hard to stand along beside the men and to be able to do everything they did, and never tried, never to make a mistake, and to do work harder and smarter than my male counterparts. And I had been given a top performance award in 196. I have been chosen as one of the four managers to start up a (INAUDIBLE) division, they hand picked those four managers. That was quite an honor for me. And to then find out that I`m being paid so much less than the other men, I couldn`t believe it. MADDOW: Yes. The way you describe that in terms of it sort of sucking it out of you is an emotional thing. I just -- I wonder whether we talk on the show and all of us in this business talk all the time what government can and can`t do, you obviously went through that humiliating experience having been done wrong and you had to fight for a very long time in order to get redress from the government. I wonder if you left this by feeling like feeling like it`s hard to get things done through institutions in the United States or if this restored your faith in what government can do when people work at it? LEDBETTER: It restored my faith, because one person can make a difference but not without the help of a lot of other people that are committed to the same cause, because I had such an outpouring across this nation, one headline read "She Struck a Nerve" and I did. It really did. It struck a nerve with the men. The men understand this, because it takes two people in most households today to hold on to the middle class status. And the president, he understood this. And a lot of people in Congress, they understand it. And this bill was sponsored and co-sponsored by Republicans and Democrats. It didn`t belong to either party. It`s a fundamental American right that people are compensated fairly. MADDOW: Well, because you fought for it we all benefit. LEDBETTER: Well, I think it will help in the future and now we`re trying to make a lot more changes. And I`m still out there fighting and trying to educate young people, because when you start out behind, a young person can never catch up because raises are based on percentage of what you`re earning. MADDOW: Yes. LEDBETTER: So, I encourage young people in colleges to be sure they start out with a pay that they are deservingly and rightfully entitled to. MADDOW: Lilly Ledbetter, the book is "Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear and Beyond" -- I will say that I learned a lot about your case, I learned a lot about the political process, and I learned way more than anybody has a right to know about Possum Trot, Alabama, in the way you started in this world. It`s great book. And thank you for your activism. Thanks for coming in tonight. LEDBETTER: Thank you so much for having me, Rachel. Thank you. MADDOW: Nice to meet you, ma`am. Thank you. All right. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MCCAIN: That old Beach Boys song, "Barbara Ann" -- you know, bomb, bomb, bomb anyway. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: One of the reasons it`s actually worth it, it`s not just indulgent and fun to follow political campaigns so closely in elections season, it`s because candidates for office are not just asking you to vote for them based on their ideas and how bad the other guy is. Candidates for office and the way they run are also modeling what they might be like in office if they are elected. So, the no drama Obama candidacy foreshadowed what has mostly been a no drama Obama White House. The from the gut bomb Iran candidacy was John McCain`s advance notice to the country that when Russia and Georgia were in an arm tiff, he`d try to get us in on something like that, he tried to get us involved in a war with Russia. Yes, that Russia. Even now, today, as just a senator, John McCain is calling for yet another war in the Middle East. Today, John McCain said we should bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Syria. So covering seemingly stupid stuff on the John McCain campaign trail in 2008 like him singing "Bomb Iran" to a tune of a Beach Boy song, that ended up being useful information about what he would be like as a president, since we now know that there`s been no recent war suggested to him that he did not want to jump right into. Running for office can tell us important things about what a person might be like in office. But there`s one national office in which Republicans around just running, they`re in power. In the House, where Republican John Boehner is speaker and Eric Cantor as majority leader. How are Republicans doing at running the one branch of elected government they are in charge of? Well, as speaker, John Boehner has had some trouble, everything from forgetting to swear some of his people in on day one, to not achieving any of the Republicans` stated legislative goals from when they assumed office. On this show, these troubles have been cataloged as the "John Boehner is bad at his job" hypothesis. But here`s something new. Apparently it`s not just Boehner being bad at his job in this hypothesis. reporting that the longtime spokesman for number two House Republican, Eric Cantor, not only quit on Friday but he quit after almost getting into a fistfight with another Eric Cantor staffer. It was apparently about a piece of legislation Mr. Cantor`s office was due to roll out last week. They reportedly thought they had a bunch of supporters lined up to say nice things about it, but that fell through. And then the two Eric Cantor staffers had what "Politico" described as an aggressive confrontation that, quote, "almost turned into a physical altercation." Cantor`s high-profile spokesman then quit and now it`s all over "Politico." And so, this week on Capitol Hill, we`ll get that bill from the Republicans that caused the near fistfights and the quitting. We were also supposed to get John Boehner`s own transportation bill by now. It`s been delayed for weeks because he can`t get his own side to vote for his own bill. The whole situation "Politico" describes as, quote, "only the recent closed-door clash among House Republican leadership." In other words, Republicans running the House of Representatives has been kind of a disaster -- a disaster that no amount of will power can keep us from gawking at. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Tomorrow night, it gets really fun around here. It`s always fun on Tuesdays but tomorrow is extra fun because it is Super Tuesday. And that means a night long politics fest here on MSNBC. I`ll be anchoring from this studio, but I`ll be facing a different direction, along with Chris Matthews and all the MSNBC primetime anchors. We`ll have all the reporting, all of the touchy, but still somewhat friendly interviews, all the numbers -- starting at 6:00 p.m. Eastern, and ending when the cows come home or slightly thereafter. Again, it starts at 6:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow night. We will see you then. Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD" with Lawrence O`Donnell. Have a great night. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END