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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 03/23/12

Guests: Bob Herbert, Mark Segraves

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Ed, have a good weekend. ED SCHULTZ, "THE ED SHOW" HOST: Thanks. You, too. MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for staying with us this hour in this Friday. In January of last year, in January of 2011, there was an assassination attempt on a member of the United States Congress. Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was holding a "Meet Your Congressman" event at a supermarket in Tucson when this mentally ill, heavily armed young man opened fire. This was the type of weapon he used. It`s Glock 9-millimeter handgun. And the reason it looks like it`s kind of a strange shape is because it has an extended magazine that is larger than the gun was designed for. Now, the standard magazine for this gun would fit right into the handle without hanging out below it, like you just saw on that other picture. The standard magazine I think would hold about 15 bullets. Jared Loughner had two of those standard-sized ammunition clips in his pocket that day at the Safeway in Tucson. But the clip he had in the gun held double the number of bullets as compared to the standard one. It holds 30 bullets. And that`s why Jared Loughner last January in Tucson was able to kill and wound so many people before he was finally stopped. He fired the one bullet that was in the chamber and then he fired the 30 bullets that were in the extended magazine. It was not until he stopped that he had to reload that somebody was able to tackle him and stop that massacre. In the aftermath of the Gabby Gifford shooting, the country for a second at least, puzzled over the fact that just a few years earlier, that sort of extended magazine would have been illegal under the assault weapons ban that was signed into law in 1994, extended clips were banned. And when George Bush let the assault weapons ban expire in 2004, those extended clips became legal again. Now, there`s no reason for anybody outside law enforcement to have the capacity to fire their handgun 31 times without reloading. If you have a handgun for self-defense, if you target shoot with it, if you are a sportsman for some kind of hand shooting hunting maybe, are you shooting more than 31 of anything at a time? No. No, gun rights hate mailers who I can sense are emailing me right now, it`s, by the way. No, you do not need 31 uninterrupted handgun bullets for any legit, non-law enforcement use of a handgun. And so, in the wake of that massacre in Tucson, it did not seem impossible, at least to the Pollyannas among us, it did seem impossible that that particular detailed gun law which has expired relatively recently might be brought back. It would have greatly lessened the harm of that one American gun massacre. There is no compelling reason not to bring it back. Weren`t we shocked enough by what happened in Tucson that we could make that one little change? No. The proposed legislation by Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy and Senator Frank Lautenberg to fix that tiny piece of gun law, to fix just the extended magazine ban that elapsed in 2004 and that helped cause so much carnage in Tucson in that Safeway parking lot, that bill went nowhere. In the House, the bill has 111 sponsors. It was referred to the subcommittee on crime, terrorism and homeland security, and it never got a vote. In the Senate, it had 10 co-sponsors. It was referred to committee, but it never got a vote. And that`s as far as it went. Since the Tucson shooting, here`s what actually has happened in terms of gun laws changing in the United States. In Arizona, the state legislature there passed a bill forcing colleges to allow guns on campus even if the campuses did not want them. Another bill would have said that every public building in Arizona must allow guns inside. And if they don`t, they must set up metal detectors and armed guards at the door. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed those bills. She did however signed a new law to make the Colt`s single action army revolver, Arizona`s official state firearm. Around the country, gun laws only go in one direction. In Indiana, a new law says schools, public libraries, public transportation entities and some local hospital authorities are now prohibited from restricting firearm possession. In Kansas, you can now carry a concealed weapon in or on the grounds of any public or private school property or grounds instructing kindergarten through 12th graders. Utah passed a similar law, but decided that kindergarten wasn`t quite young enough. The new law in Utah also allows you to bring your gun within a thousands feet of buildings that house preschools and day care centers. Maine now let you bring your gun into state parks. Same with North Carolina. North Carolinians may now store their firearms also in their cars, in their parking areas outside the state capitol. North Carolina also made it easier last year for minors to possess handguns, not miners as in coal miners, but minors as in kids, never to young. Ohio`s Republican legislature felt an urgent need to pass a law that allows concealed weapon permit holders to bring their guns into restaurants and arenas and into bars. What could possibly go wrong? Also in Ohio, if you are a person convicted of a drug offense, you no longer have to worry about losing ownership of your gun. You get to keep it. And in Florida, where Trayvon Martin was killed, new laws say concealed weapon permit holders can openly carry firearms. Another new law makes concealed carry record confidential. And county authorities can no longer impose waiting periods on firearm sales. And this is just partial. This is arbitrarily chosen in terms of new gun laws since the Tucson massacre and just a random list of states. Anywhere else you look in the country, it`s the same story. People don`t write gun laws. The gun lobby does. After the Trayvon Martin shooting on February 26th, the National Rifle Association was still lobbying hard for Minnesota to adopt a law like the Florida stand your ground law that prevented the Trayvon Martin shooter from being arrested. The Democratic governor of Minnesota vetoed it. But that`s a bit of a policy miracle. After Governor Jeb Bush signed the first stand your ground bill into law in 2005 in Florida, which you can see here with NRA lobbyist Marianne Hammer beaming down over his shoulder as he signed it, nearly two dozen states have followed with their own laws similar to Florida`s. And then the NRA now wants this to be a federal law that would force this regulation on states around the country that don`t want it. This is generally the way that gun politics works, all the changes in law go in the same direction. All the changes in law go toward more guns in more places and more legal excuses for shooting people. And once one state stakes out what used to be radical ground in terms of clearing the way for guns and more legal excuses for shootings, as soon as one state clears that, ground like Florida did in 2005, as soon as one state goes there, all of the other states rush toward that newly cleared ground. I was one of the people who thought that after Tucson, we could at least have one tick, one tiny little tick toward regulating just the size of the magazines for ammunition in handguns. As a tiny correction for a nation that was legitimately shocked by the horror of what happened in Tucson. I thought that could happen after Tucson. I was wrong. Gun law changes go in one direction. The Florida state senate president says now, even in the midst of the national uproar over the Trayvon Martin shooting, and the fact that Florida`s gun law says that shooter can`t be arrested, he says that the Florida senate will be not reviewing the law. Usually on policy issues like this, we say, you know, what would it take? What you would it take to look at this issue differently? What would it take us to shock us out of pattern we`re in? What would it take to swing the pendulum back now that he has swung so radically far in one direction? What would it take? In the case of gun laws and the gun lobby, we have an answer. It doesn`t matter. Anything could happen. It doesn`t matter. No matter what happens in the country in terms of gun violence or how we feel about it, there is no outcry loud enough. There is no shock or horror that is too grave. We do not get to make these decisions about our laws in this country. We do not get to make the decisions about laws concerns guns. They do. They`re the gun lobby and they decide -- at least that`s how they want it to be and at least that`s how they have had it so far. President Obama was asked about the Trayvon Martin case today at the White House by NBC`s Michael Viqueira. This was his answer. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Obviously, this is tragedy. I can only imagine what these parents are going through. When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids. And I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this. I think all of us have to do some soul searching to figure out how does something like this happen. And that means that we examine the laws and the context for what happened, as well as the specifics of the incident. But my main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. If I had a son, he`d look like Trayvon. And, you know, I think they are right to expect that all of us, as Americans, are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves and that we`re going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Joining us now is Bob Herbert, former "New York Times" columnist. He`s now a distinguished fellow at Demos. Bob, thank you for being here. BOB HERBERT, DEMOS: Great. Good to see you. MADDOW: The president talking about treating this case as seriously as it deserves to be treated. Is he talking about an assurance that the victim being a young black man in this instant will not excuse the need for a prosecution in this killing? Is that what he`s getting? HERBERT: I think what he`s saying is that no matter what happens in Florida, and you can`t -- in these instances, we know we can never be sure of what will happen, whether justice will be done, that his administration is prepared to step in and see that justice is done in this case. I think that`s incredibly important. And when the president talked about when he said that if he`d a son, he would look like Trayvon, that comes in the context of a statement in which he said he thought that every parent in America could understand the depth of this tremendous tragedy. So, the people on the other side who had are trying to make political hay out of this, need to stop. MADDOW: The comment that I saw today in terms of people criticizing the president for making this, is from Newt Gingrich speaking on the Sean Hannity radio program this afternoon. He said, "What the president said in a sense is disgraceful. Is the president that it had been a white who had been shot, that would be OK because it didn`t look like him? Trying to turn it into a racial issue is fundamentally wrong. HERBERT: I mean I just think that that`s crazy. But I think the Republicans have been so far beyond the pale for so long now. I mean, we probably shouldn`t be surprised at any of their nonsense. But one of the things that strikes me is that so many folks on the conservative side want to go out of the their way to have this not be a race based killing. That there`s not a racial element there. I just think that`s crazy. It`s pretty obvious that it is. I mean, we have on the 9/11 tapes this fellow, Zimmerman, saying he has his hand in his waistbands and he`s a black male. I mean, that is what sets off the suspicion, the fact that he`s black. But the other thing is, I think that, you know, there`s a danger that we`re all over the map here and we can miss the essential points of what we should be paying attention to. And I think that there are two essential points. One is what you were talking about at the top of the program, this insane gun violence that we have in this country. The country is saturated with violence and saturated with guns, which is handguns in particular. And that`s just crazy. So, that`s one point. You know, we had, since September 11th, where we lost 3,000 people in this terrible terror tragedy, but since then, there had been over 100,000 victims of homicide in this country, over 100,000. And the majority of them were killed by guns. That`s one point. This insane gun violence. The other thing that we have not paid nearly enough attention to is the racial violence that continues in this country. There`s a tremendous amount of it. If you look at the New York Times today and you read the Trayvon Martin story, right beside it, on the jump page, there`s a story about these teenagers entering a plea in Mississippi where they had run over -- they coming to Jackson, Mississippi, looking for black people to attack. That`s sort of what they did. And there was this fellow, 47 or 48 years old and they spotted him in a motel parking lot and one of the kids just ran over him and deliberately killed him with a pickup truck. So, these are huge problems that we really need to focus on and try not to get sidetracked by all the nonsense. MADDOW: The question for me too whether or not, how we will engage on the racial issue of this and whether or not this can lead to a productive discussion about guns. So far, it shows no signs of it. But I think that this is continuing. I think this story will continue to grip the country. HERBERT: I think that it can. And I think the protests are a very hopeful sign. So, I would hope there would be some follow through on this. We`ll see. MADDOW: Yes. Bob Herbert, distinguished fellow at Demos Center for Policy and Advocacy -- Bob, thanks for coming in. HERBERT: Thank you, Rachel. MADDOW: Nice to see you. HERBERT: Great to see you. MADDOW: Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell cannot understand why he`s increasingly known as the transvaginal ultrasound guy. He cannot believe it. Why does everybody call him that? A journey into the mind of governor ultrasound is coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Straight ahead, we`ve got a special THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW report on how one small group of regular people are taking on some really large powerful institutions. And I think they`ve got a really good shot at winning. This has not been covered anywhere else. It`s exclusive to us and it`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don`t leave your home because you know what? When those companies say they have your mortgage, unless you have a lawyer that can put his finger or her finger on that mortgage, you don`t have that mortgage. You`re going to find they can`t find the paper up there on Wall Street. So, I say to the American people -- you be squatters in your own homes. Don`t you leave. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Existential point: you live somewhere. Maybe you live in a city or a town or in an unincorporated area like I grew up in, but you live somewhere. And where do you live, the land you live on, literally the ground under your feet is owned by someone or some corporation or maybe a government. One of the first things Americans did as citizens was set up public registries to keep track of who owns which land. If you and your neighbor disagree about a fence when he wants to build, there should be an empirical answer as to which of you is right and where that fence can go. And the answer to where that fence can go is in books like these. They tell us who owns what, and how are the land in our towns is bought and sold, how it`s mortgaged and paid for or not. This is important stuff. And the public record is a clear thing or it should be when the system works right. I want you to meet Lorie Linear (ph). Lorie Linear lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. This is her driving. Lorie showed our producer Laura Conaway around Greensboro, North Carolina this week. Greensboro is a town of not quite 300,000 people. It`s in central North Carolina, sort of between Raleigh and Winston-Salem. She drove us to her neighborhood, to one particular house where she was friendly with the owner. You can see that it`s a normal house in a normal neighborhood. It`s not far from the big university in town. Lorie Linear works in real estate in this neighborhood and she says they are going through a new round of foreclosure foreclosures. She says there`s been actually a couple of suicides in families that have lost their homes. The house that Lorie wants to show us, as you can see, is boarded up being abandoned takes a toll on a house. On the door, there`s a sign that tells you to call the bank if you have any questions. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LORIE LINEAR (ph): If this property is not vacant, please call your mortgage servicer immediately. We have date, 3/19. They were just here. This is new to me. Please call Wells Fargo. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The owner of that particular house ended up in the newspapers last month after he got into a 15-hour stand off with police. He was a chiropractor, by all accounts a regular guy and now you can direct inquiries about his house to Wells Fargo. They`ve got his house now. Stories like that grew Lorie Linear to go to Occupy Greensboro last week. The group held a big event in the old movie theater downtown. The big event about foreclosures, and 400 people showed up. A few of them telling their stories about losing homes. That`s happening all over the country, but there`s not that many places where you can talk personally about the fact that it`s happening. It can be not just upsetting but embarrassing. You can feel like you`re the only one. That night last week, a couple of occupiers screened a movie to try to explain all the foreclosures and why this is a crisis. They are trying out new ways of explaining, new ways of acting out how the banks wrecked the economy and document mills and forged signatures; how the banks lured people into loans they couldn`t afford and loans that didn`t make sense; how they traded those loans like they were casino chips. They`re looking for new things to help the public understand what happened when all of this hapnneed. They`re also looking for new things to do about it here and across the country. In Greensboro, the occupiers have started formal training for volunteers, like Lorie Linear, to examine the documents in new foreclosures, to look for signs that the bank has not got the right to kick that particular family out on the street. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`ll be trained to seek out evidence of fraud including robo-signing. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: If the documents don`t hold up to scrutiny, and then the bank might not be able to foreclose or the family might at least be able to get into a better position to negotiate an extension or a new payment plan or something. Already, Occupy Greensboro filled up its first fraud detection training, 35 regular Americans, just citizens saying they are ready to dive into records at the county clerk`s office to help some homeowner they maybe don`t know. And more North Carolina counties are asking for classes like this to. Going after the banks by going through their participate work turns out not to be that hard to do. Regular people can do it with a little training. And people want to do it. It`s popular. People want to take these trainings and learn how to do these things. It kind of makes a mix between a geek and the save your house super hero. And the popularity of doing this though is in part because it works. These folks diving into bank records for science of mortgage fraud, it is looking more and more like they may be really onto something. This is Jeff Pigpen (ph) in his office in Greensboro, North Carolina. He`s the elected county register of deeds, which under normal circumstances is one of the most humble little noticed jobs in government, right? Jeff Pigpen`s got Greensboro records going back to 1771. If you ask him, he will pull down the old books and show them to you. All this -- look -- all this documentation of who owns what signed by actual humans using their real names and old fashioned ink in the 1700s. The records showing who owns what going back as long as the government exists basically. It who owns what land and who owes who money for it. But, Jeff, this county register says he cannot be sure anymore who owns what in Greensboro or who owes whom, or who has the right to kick anybody out of their house and into the street for not paying. Jeff Pigpen`s little county register office in North Carolina went back through a few years of records and they found just for a few years, thousands of documents filed by big banks and mortgage companies in these document mills -- thousands of documents that Jeff Pigpen says looked to him like forgeries, like the companies that filed them just did not care. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEFF PIGPEN (ph), COUNTY REGISTER: I can`t make up to mind as to whether or not they`re walking over me or they`re just completely ignoring me, you know? And both are pretty humiliating, you know? It`s just kind of take your pick, which one is it? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Except that now you can sue? PIGPEN: Yes. We can sue. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Last week, Jeff Pigpen`s little county office took more than two dozen big banks and mortgage companies to court. It`s Jeff versus Bank of America. Jeff versus Wells Fargo. He says they wrecked 250 years of fair dealing in his county and it`s his job to fix it. Quote, "This lawsuit seeks to have defendants clean up the mess they created." That`s from paragraph one. It`s hard to put a legal case more plainly that. Jeff Pigpen wants a court to appoint an investigator to go through the documents on people`s houses, to find the mistakes and to set things right. He wants the banks to clean up the mess he says they have made for his office. The mess they have made in his county by making a mockery of the legal paper work that you need to prove you own something in America. He says until the banks do that, the people of his county cannot buy and sell property with any real confidence about who owns it. The records he said have been that corrupted by the banks. And he says, the families kicked out of their homes, the bank documents that justified that, some of those documents he says may have been fraud. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PIGPEN: Public recording offices are part of our democracy in rule of law and the laws that govern them need to be respected. If you don`t respect that, then why am I any better that Wikipedia? I mean, if that`s the case, Wikipedia would be better than me, you know? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Explain that. PIGPEN: Well, I mean, at least on Wikipedia, you`ll have multiple people trying to correct what`s going on and get the story right. All we would be doing would be logging in information signed by people four to 15 different times with no verification and then people could go out and use it. They have the legal force of Wikipedia. Come on. It`s basically -- if you don`t get public recording offices right, you don`t get the judicial system right. I mean, if these documents are certified for my office and used in court proceedings, if they are not right, it`s a fraud on the court system, baby. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Jeff Pigpen says he`s already found about three dozen foreclosures in Greensboro, three dozens, where he now considers the documents that justified those foreclosures to be seriously in question. Three dozen Greensboro families put out on the streets who maybe should not have been. What has happened in Jeff`s office, this situation with thousands of documents that he says appear to have stuff missing or forged signature s, this same situation quite likely exists in every county in the United States. And if you look around, you will now see that lawsuits like there this Greensboro one are popping up in Ohio and in Kentucky, and in Oklahoma, and in Massachusetts, with the promises of more to come. So far, so far, these clerks who are suing have been losing these cases. But if these lowly clerks start winning and it looks like they might, then this becomes a very big deal because there are thousands of these clerks. There are thousands of counties. There are thousands of people like Jeff Pigpen out there who have these responsibilities and take them seriously. And with the occupiers and the volunteers and the families being foreclosed on, and the county clerks, and the courts, all going through the records, the banks may start losing for what they did to those records. On the way to doing what they did to what used to be our economy. If the clerks start winning, we might start proving that the early warnings were right like Marcy Kaptur back in the dark winter of 2009 when she told Americans to be squatters in their own homes because while the banks were getting rich trading and gambling on your houses, they did not bother doing the work to prove who owned anything or who owed anything for that matter. At the time she made, that argument from Marcy Kaptur sounded revolutionary and impassioned. It was a manifesto from the populist fringe. That argument is no longer fringy. Now it`s a days work in the Greensboro County registrar`s office. Getting the basic paper work of who owns what in this country back in good order again, like we have prioritized since the 1700s. The banks are scared of this. And they ought to be. They have been trying to work out deals to avoid responsibility for what they did at the federal level and at the state level. They are trying to get themselves off this hook. I would too, if I were them. But the Jeff Pigpens of the world and the Occupy Greensboros of the world and the Lorie Linears of the word are trying to get American families off of that hook first. And they might win on this and it`s a big deal. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: At the quarter to midnight tonight, President Obama will get on his helicopter, Marine One, and he will fly to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. From there, President Obama will get on Air Force One and he will fly to Seoul, South Korea, for his second big deal nuclear security summit. There will be more than 50 heads of state and international organizations all discusses and negotiating and arguing over how to make nuclear terrorism less likely. This is happening because of the speech President Obama delivered in 2009 in Prague in which he said, one, that loose -- excuse me, in which he said, one, that loose nuclear material and the threat that terrorism goes nuclear threatens the security of every carbon base life form on planet earth. Two, he said it`s a threat we can actually do something about. And, three, he said we are going to do something about it. (BEGIN VDIEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, I am announcing a new international effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The following year, Washington, D.C. hosted the very first nuclear security summit. The participating countries, more than 40 of them, all agreed to the president`s four-year goal. And a couple of countries agreed to get rid all together of their nuclear material that could be used to make bombs. One of those countries was the Ukraine. The other was Mexico. Mexico agreed to work with the United States and Canada and the International Atomic Energy Agency to get rid of all of its highly enriched uranium. As we exclusively reported on this show this week, as of Monday, that promise was kept. The United States upgraded Mexico`s nuclear research facilities so it could use the kind of material that nobody can make a bomb out of, gave them some of that safer material. And then, the National Nuclear Security Administration packed up Mexico`s highly enriched uranium and took it back to the United States for lockdown and down-blending. In the past few years, the United States has helped clean out weapons usable uranium from six countries, from Romania, Libya, Turkey, Chile, Serbia, and Mexico, which not even the "Associated Press" knew about when they published this article with this headline yesterday, "U.S. says five nations clear out five weapons grade uranium." Actually, it`s six countries -- six, not five. Six is better than five. Mexico, too. And six is better than five. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Tomorrow`s the Republican presidential primary in the great state of Louisiana. It`s important race in part because the front-runner for the Republican nomination has lost every contested primary so far in the South. He does not have the world`s toughest competition, but even against this field, Mitt Romney has lost every contested Southern state so far. He lost South Carolina, he lost Georgia. He lost Tennessee. He lost Alabama. He lost Mississippi. And if you want to Florida as the South, well, the part of Florida that really feels like the South, he lost there too. It is very important to Republican chances in the general election that they have no trouble at all winning the South. Not only do Republicans expect to win the South, they don`t even expect to have to waste too many resources competing there, right? So, Mitt Romney`s inability to winning in the South could be a bit of an issue for the Republican Party if they pick him as their nominee. Now, Virginia, of course, is the most interesting part of that whole calculation because Virginia Republicans totally screwed up their presidential nominating contest this year so that only two of the candidates qualified to be on the ballot. Remember, it was only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul on the ballot in Virginia. So, yes, technically, Mitt Romney won there, but the only person he beat was Ron Paul. It was definitely not a test of how Mitt Romney would do in Virginia overall. And this is not a pointless hypothetical because in the 2008 election, John McCain lost Virginia to a guy named Barack Obama. So, Mitt Romney has lost everywhere else in the South. We have no idea how he would have done in an actually contested primary in Virginia. And Virginia is a must win and might not win state for the Republican Party. Virginia is really important. That`s why pollsters are testing how Barack Obama versus Mitt Romney might go in Virginia in 2012. The answer, if you are a Republican, look at that -- not good. In the latest Quinnipiac poll released this week, President Obama beat Mitt Romney in Virginia in a general election and matchup by eight points. But there`s yet another factor at play in Virginia , which is that Virginia has a relatively -- I`ll get back to his popularity in a moment. Virginia at least has a governor. Virginia has a Republican governor who seems to want to be chosen as his party`s vice presidential nominee. He has endorsed Mr. Romney. He has been traveling around the country stumping on behalf of Mr. Romney. He`s not shy at all talking about how delighted and honored he would be if he were asked to be the Republican Party`s vice presidential nominee. Well, we already know that Mitt Romney versus Barack Obama is not a good outcome for Republicans in Virginia in terms of a head-to-head. But what if Mitt Romney picked Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell as his running mate. Wouldn`t that put him over the top in Virginia? Wouldn`t that lock up Virginia for the Republicans. You want to see the Bob McDonnell effect in Virginia? Remember, by himself, Mitt Romney loses to Barack Obama by eight points. Get ready for the Bob McDonnell bump. Ready. Go. Aww. Bob McDonald has a tiny bump. A mini-bump if you will -- a one-point bump. With Bob McDonnell on the ticket, Mitt Romney still loses to Barack Obama not by eight points, but by seven points. Even Bob McDonnell just by himself is down in the polls. His approval rating has dropped five points since February. It`s the lowest his approval rating has been since Quinnipiac started polling in Virginia last June. The pollsters at Quinnipiac looking for an explanation for Governor McDonnell`s approval rating drop turns to two bills that he has recently signed into law. The forced ultrasound bill and a bill repealing the state`s one handgun a month anti-gun running law. They found that Virginia voters preferred the old gun law, the one a month limit on handguns over the repeal signed by Governor McDonnell up by a 13 point margin. They also found that the state is not happy with the law that gave Bob McDonnell the nickname governor ultrasound. Virginia voters disprove of the new ultrasound by a 11-point margin. For his part, Bob McDonnell appears to be furious that everybody keeps calling him governor ultrasound. He has been trying to argue his way out of being held accountable for enacting the forced ultrasound law since before even he actually signed the bill. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you were educating yourself on this bill, did you originally not realize that it might mandate an evasive procedure. GOV. BOB MCDONNELL (R), VIRGINIA: You have to realize this wasn`t my bill. You`re so busy advocating your agenda. You don`t read every legislator`s bill. But we can`t always help what the media decides to focus on. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Bob McDonnell has been trying for weeks to distance himself from his own decision to sign into law -- this radical, unpopular anti-abortion measure. It`s not his bill. Blame the Republicans and the legislature. Blame the media. Now, he would like to blame Democrats for what he did. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN KING, CNN: Governor, you`ve gone through this with the personhood debate and the ultrasound bill in the state of Virginia. If you look at your Facebook page right now, there`s a feisty conversation going on there. In terms of -- the Democrats are calling this war on women. Do Republicans need to be -- is it more careful in their language? MCDONNELL: This war on women argument is very unfortunate. It`s false. It`s been a political theater from the Democrats for a couple of months. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Political theater for the Democrats. Governor Bob ultrasound McDonnell this week explaining to CNN`s John King that this whole war on women thing is the political theater cooked up by the Democrats. It has nothing to do with Republicans in Congress voting to defund Planned Parenthood, or voting to rollback access to contraceptives or Republican led state legislatures enacting a record number of anti- abortion measures, or Bob McDonnell`s own decision to sign into a new law a state-ordered medical procedure and a new 24-hour waiting period for these dumb, dumb women seeking abortions who don`t understand what an abortion is. Bob McDonnell knows that all that stuff was not invented by the Democrats. No one made him sign the forced ultrasound bill. But Virginia Democrats are still trying to make him pay for it. A couple of weeks ago, Virginia Democrats sent Governor McDonnell a letter, asking him to set aside funding for the ultrasound that he was forcing women to get. Governor McDonnell`s office at the time dismissed that request with a lot of anger. No way. We are going to make women have this procedure done to them and we`re going to make them pay for it, too. The governor`s office responded with the Democrats` request with a nasty statement calling it partisan and petty and accusing the Democrats of playing political games. But you know what? The Virginia budget does actually have to get through the Senate. And Virginia Democrats are not giving up on this point. The Senate is set to vote on Monday on a Democratic budget amendment to not force Virginia women to also have to pay for the medically unnecessary ultrasound that Bob McDonnell them to have done to them even if they don`t want it. Bob McDonnell wants to sadly to be done with the ultrasound bill and he`s so mad that people won`t stop talking about it. He wanted to be able to sign that bill into law but not have anybody notice it. Certainly, he wanted nobody to ask him about it. It does not work that way, governor ultrasound. Your record has a way of following you around. The Virginia Democratic Party put out an ad last week highlighting Governor McDonnell`s very, very long record of anti-abortion legislation, calling his ultrasound bill more of the same, pointing to the fact that as a state legislature, Bob McDonnell sponsored or co-sponsored 35 bills to restrict abortion rights. We fact check the heck out of that actually, and it`s true, 35 bills. You cannot be the 35 separate anti-abortion bills guy and say, hey, stop saying that abortion is my priority. I don`t want to talk about that. Bob McDonnell would like to be seen this election season as the ash blonde Mitt Romney. He wants to be seen as a jobs kind of guy. A guy who might help Mitt Romney win the South. But you don`t get to say what you`re agenda is. People figure out what you agenda is by watching what you do in office. And watching what Bob McDonnell does in office is watching a culture warrior at work. Joining us now is Mark Segraves. He`s a reporter for WTOP radio. Governor McDonnell appears on Mark Segraves, "Ask the Governor" every month. Mr. Seagraves, thank you very much for joining us. It`s nice to have you here. MARK SEGRAVES, WTOP RADIO: Thanks for having me. MADDOW: When Democrats first started pressing him to fund the ultrasound mandate, to set up a system by women will not be forced to pay for the privilege of this thing they may not want but the state is forcing them to have, his office was really dismissive of the whole thing. But now, it`s a real issue in the budget negotiations. How do you think this new front is affecting the governor? SEGRAVES: Well, he would rather talk about jobs and the economy than talk about social issues. But he`s got to deal with this. The general assembly is much closer to passing their budget than they were a week ago. But now, they have to deal with this ultrasound funding issue. I asked the governor about this on my show last month, whether he`s upset about federally mandated unfunded mandates and I asked him what the difference was with this, and he was very comfortable with this, pointing out that the government often passes rules, laws, regulations that impose a fee or a cost to taxpayers and that this was no different. So, the Democrats tried once before to get this through, this funding measure through. It wasn`t successful. We`ll see how it goes next week. MADDOW: In terms of the governor`s responses to you pressing him on this, as you know, Mark, we played a bunch of tape of you talking to him about it, because you seem to draw him out more on this issue than a lot of other people had been able to. Obviously, he wants to downplay the social issues on his agenda, but when he gets asked about it by people like you who really pressed him on it, he doesn`t go very far in advocating for this stuff that he presumably believes in. He did sponsor or co-sponsor 35 anti-abortion bills. He did sign this into law. He did say he supported and would sign it before the vaginal, the transvaginal part of the ultrasound requirement was amended. Why won`t he defend it when pressed? SEGRAVES: You know, he will point out that he cautioned the general assembly, which is just turned totally Republican, Republican dominated that they shouldn`t get two arrogant and he shouldn`t get too far ahead of themselves with the social agendas as we`d seen that they have done. He warned them of that last year. And when you ask him about these bills, the gun bill, the abortion bill, this bill, he`ll point out these weren`t his ideas and he`s got an agenda of 100 bills for the economy and whatnot, and prefer to talk about that. But when you press him, he doesn`t back way from the fact he`s always been a staunch supporter of the pro-life agenda. He`s never waivered from that. He maintains that he will be a defender of the pro-life position. But when you ask him about the transvaginal or the ultrasound requirements, that`s when he`ll start to deflect and point to the fact he didn`t actually propose those bill, others did. At the end of the day, he does support them. And he proves that by signing the bills. MADDOW: Well, Mark, the polling that`s out newly him from Quinnipiac suggests that his drop in the polls could be tied to the socially conservative bills that despite his best efforts he`s very much tied to because he signed them into law and because he supported them throughout his career. Not just the ultrasound bill but also repealing the one handgun per month. Quinnipiac zoomed in on those. They pulled on those specifically. They seem to have found a correlation. Does that correlation seem reasonable to you? Do you think that is affecting his approval ratings? SEGRAVES: Well, certainly, if you look at the time frame alone, that he`s enjoyed a 60-plus approval rating pretty steadily. He still is above 50 percent. And he actually gets a good approval rate, almost 50 percent approval from Democrats in the state of Virginia. But when you look at the slip in his numbers, as well as the bigger slip in the general assembly`s approval numbers, they go hand in hand with the timeline of these more socially conservative bills that have passed about gay adoption, one gun a month and the ultrasound bill. MADDOW: Mark Segraves, reporter for WTOP Radio, who does a damn good interview from what I have seen of the tapes of your show -- Mark, thank you very much for joining us. It`s been really helpful to talk to you about this. SEGRAVES: Thank you, Rachel. MADDOW: Thanks. All right. Tonight, the answer to the question, does the newly appointed head of the World Bank sometimes dress up like a robot and dance around? The answer is obvious. But the pictures are amazing. That`s coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Programming note: on Sunday, the day after tomorrow, I`m very excited to be David Gregory`s guest on "Meet the Press," which airs on NBC on Sunday morning. I`ll be talking about this new book I`ve got coming out, which is called "Drift," which I`m simultaneously very proud of and a little nervous about talking about it into the public all over the country as it gets born into the world this week. But there I will be -- "Meet the Press," this Sunday morning. I hope you`ll watch. Did I mention nervous? We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: America gets to run the World Bank. It`s kind of like the World Series, when it says world in the name but eh, it`s kind of us. Because of the clout we have wielded in the world since the end of the Second World War, by tradition, the United States gets to pick the person who heads the World Bank. It does not have to happen that way, but so far it always has. Membership has its privileges. So, what has America done with that privilege? Well, here`s who President George W. Bush chose to run the World Bank when he got his first chance at it, he picked Paul Wolfowitz and that was after Iraq. Hey, thanks for your role in getting us into the Iraq war, Paul Wolfowitz, that was really awesome. Now you get to run a hugely important program providing economic aid to poor people in developing companies. Kudos! Within two years, Wolfowitz was forced out in an ethics scandal. Today, President Obama got his first chance to nominate a World Bank president and picked somebody who literally everybody who wrote about this today described as a surprise, or at least as an unconventional choice. He picked the president of Dartmouth College. And if you were among the many Googling the name Dr. Jim Yong Kim for the first time ever today, you probably quickly read into this. (VIDEO CLIP PLAYS) MADDOW: The new president of the World Bank dressing up like a robot and rapping not all that badly about the Dartmouth College`s version of "American Idol." Nice to meet you, Dr. Jim Yong Kim. Even though Jim Kim is not exactly a household name, he is pretty spectacularly accomplished. I`m doing all this press for my book that`s just coming out and as part of that press I did the questionnaire that runs on the back page of "Vanity Fair" magazine, they call it the Proust questionnaire and they ask everybody the same question. And one of the questions they asked everybody is: which living person do you most admire? My answer was Paul Farmer. Paul Farmer is a doctor who founded organization called Partners in Health and he founded Partners in Health with Jim Yong Kim. He has dedicated nearly his entire adult life to eradicating disease among the poorest people in the world, beginning in the 1980s in Haiti when he was still a medical student. These guys have done the seemingly impossible, providing high level health care to people everyone else in the world wrote off as a lost cause. This year, Partners in Health is planning to open a teaching hospital in the central plateau of Haiti. Seriously? How did that happen? That is impossible, but there it is, they are doing it. Dr. Kim and Partners in Health went on to Peru, where they created the first large scale program to treat multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. They had phenomenal success. Dr. Kim then figured out how to navigate the bureaucracy at the World Health Organization so he can bring their program to 40 more countries around the world. And then he went on to work for the WHO where he ran another impossible program, one that would ultimately provide drug treatment for 3 million people with AIDS in developing nations and it worked. So if he is approved as President Obama`s choice, this guy might get to be in charge of a giant international pool of money called the World Bank that`s meant to help lift people out of poverty. And knowing that is kind of a nice way to ease into the weekend. Go, go big green indeed. That does it for us tonight. I will see you again Sunday morning on "Meet the Press." Until then, enjoy prison. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END