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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 05/16/12

Guests: Richard Engel, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Jane Lynch

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Ed. Thank you. And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour. We`ve got Jane Lynch joining us this hour - very excited about that. The Jane Lynch joining us. She`ll be here at the end of the show for what I think will be our first-ever special edition best new thing in the world today. Very exciting. Also, NBC`s chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel is going to be joining us here this hour. And George W. Bush followed up his endorsement of Mitt Romney yesterday with a very surprising announcement today. That is all coming up this hour. But we begin tonight with this -- the woman of your dreams just may have a Russian accent. Don`t take it from me. Take it from this male order bride Web site. All afternoon when I was prepping for this segment in my office today, I was very worried that somebody was going to walk in the door in my office and see with this up on my computer screen. I thought people would think I was looking at porn. Technically, this is not porn. This is the Web site for a marriage service. See, it says so right there above the lady with the bra straps falling down and the lady in the red, white, and blue bikini who may -- what is she doing? Is she stretching? Is that some sort of bikini yoga? We think of the mail order bride industry as a relic of the past, but the industry still not only exists, it has been updated for the computer age. See, you don`t pick your bride out from the back of a magazine or a catalog now, now you pick her out online. This service, Encounters International, specifically markets Russian ladies. They say Russian women are no longer the best-kept secret of the Cold War. They advertise to American men who may want to marry these women and thereby allow them to immigrate to this country. They advertise that Russian women, quote, "have a different outlook on life and marriage. They are less materialistic than their American counterparts and more family- oriented. As wives, they desire to build a loving home, follow their husband`s lead, and stick with the marriage, even when times get tough and things stop being fun." I`m not sure exactly what they mean by "when things stop being fun," but one of the worrying aspects of the whole mail order bride phenomenon -- not just now, but always -- is that a woman who immigrates to the United States using a service like this can end up dependent for her immigration status in this country on the American man to whom she has just been married for a fee. And if that man starts beating her up, an immigrant woman under these circumstances can kind of be trapped. I mean, you don`t want to stay with the abusive guy who bought her hand on the Internet, but if she leaves the abusive American husband, she also may lose the marriage tie that was making it legal for her to be here, and she will therefore get deported. So, that`s the choice, right? Stay with the man who`s beating you or get deported. To help women out of that disgusting and dangerous trap, there is a program by which women who are being abused and whose immigration status depends on being married to their abuser, those women can in a low-key way without tipping off the guy who is beating them, they can apply for legal immigration status in this country that`s unconnected to the abusive husband. It is a special visa program under the Violence Against Women Act. Republicans in Washington are right to roll that back. The Violence Against Women Act was first passed almost 20 years ago. When he was in the Senate, Vice President Joe Biden wrote the original bill. It passed with bipartisan support. The act was reauthorized in the year 2000. It was reauthorized again in 2005. It has never been a particularly controversial thing, until now. Republicans in the Senate initially voted it down this year on a party line vote. They gave it zero votes in committee. It finally did pass the full Senate on a 68 to 31 vote. All 31 no votes there were all male Republican senators. All the Republican women in the Senate voted for it, but 31 men voted no. But now it`s over in the House. And House Republicans are not for it. They introduced a Republican counterproposal that undoes big portions of the Violence Against Women Act. Their changes, for example, would take away the anonymity from their special visa program for beaten women, thereby advancing the important public policy goal of alerting the abusive husbands of mail order brides if the woman they`re beating is trying to get away there them. Why has the Violence Against Women Act turned into this? Why have the politics around this issue turned so much this year? After being such a non-controversial thing for decades? It`s because the right wing of the right wing just decided this year they`re going to make an issue out of it. This, for example, is a letter signed by the Family Research Council, by the Eagle Forum, by Liberty Council, which is affiliated with the Jerry Falwell university, at which Mitt Romney gave the commencement speech this past weekend. Also , the Traditional Values Coalition. This is them writing to Congress to say, don`t reauthorize if Violence Against Women Act. As first reported by Right Wing Watch today, one of the signatories to this letter is a former vice chair of the North Carolina Republican Party, who himself has a felony domestic violence conviction on his record. He got a suspended sentence of 18 months in prison after admitting to beating his wife into the hospital, breaking her nose, breaking her toes, breaking a piece of furniture over her back. Police found his wife in the couple`s home on Christmas day, bleeding from the face and suffering from other injuries. He pled guilty to felony aggravated assault in that case. He is now one of the signatories to the vote against the Violence Against Women Act letter, right? It`s a letter signed by him and by all those groups that have the word "values" in their names. One of the other signatories in this coalition that seems to have persuaded Republicans to be against the Violence Against Women Act this year is a group called SAVE, a group based in Rockville, Maryland. They have been lobbying House Republicans to oppose the Violence Against Women Act this year. They`ve been lobbying specifically to roll back some of the protections for immigrant women. The treasurer of that group, SAVE, that`s lobbying to get rid of the advisory rule that would help mail order brides, one of the officers of that group, the treasurer of that group, is the founder of this thing that everybody thought was porn on my Web site all day today -- the Russian mail order bride company, which again promises that these women will follow their husband`s lead and stick with the marriage, even when times get tough. And just think how much tougher you can make those times if she knows that not sticking with the marriage means she gets deported back to Russia. So, yes, the whole Republicans have a war on women thing, this is the sort of thing that has given rise to that sentiment, that Republicans have a war on women. This is how you earn a political epithet like that. For what it`s worth, Democrats have been fighting like heck on this issue. President Obama has personally brought this issue up multiple times in recent weeks. The president all but promising to veto the Republican`s rollback of the Violence Against Women Act, which passed the House today. Vice President Biden has brought the issue up multiple times. He, of course, wrote the first Violence Against Women Act. One of the president`s top advisers, Valerie Jarrett, has an op-ed out on issue today. Nancy Pelosi has been front paging this issue in her position as the Democrat`s leader in the House. And today, at a press conference on Capitol Hill, a Wisconsin Democratic congresswoman named Gwen Moore went all out, not just on the legislation, but on what in her personal experience has convinced her that the Violence Against Women Act is so important. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. GWEN MOORE (D), WISCONSIN: You know, one experience that I had that occurred to me, I thought of this morning was a time when I took a ride with a guy I thought was a friend to go get some fried chicken. And he decided to take a detour behind some buildings to rape me and choke me almost to death. I was sort of seeing that little light that you often hear about. As a woman of color, I am particularly aggrieved that this bill ignores the special circumstances of women who are minorities, women who are in the shadows. Stop playing games with the lives of women! This is yet another -- they don`t want to hear us talk about it being a war on women, but this is a direct assault on women`s lives. Three women a day die from victimization. And I would implore my colleagues to stop playing games. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The House voted on and passed the Republican rollback of the Violence Against Women Act today, passed it on a nearly party line vote. So that was today in this crazy war on women idea that has no basis in reality. You want to know what Republicans are going to do tomorrow to earn that epithet all over again? Tomorrow, Republicans are focusing on Washington, D.C., which, as you know s, is the seat of our nation`s capital. It is also in its own right, a real American city. D.C. has mayor, it has a city council, but it is not a state and it is not part of any state, and therefore, Congress as a federal entity plays this weirdly local role in what the city of Washington, D.C. can do with its own business. As such, D.C. often bears the brunt of whatever is in political fashion for members of Congress that year. They tend to take their highest priority partisan issues at the federal level and impose them on the District of Columbia against D.C.`s will. Republicans are in control of the House right now, and what`s the majority for Republicans this year? What`s the issue they are more focused on making policy about that anything else across the country? That would be the issue of abortion, abortion rights. Arizona Congressman Trent Franks, he represents Arizona, has decided that in his infinite Arizona wisdom, he should take it upon himself to limit when you are allowed to get an abortion if you are a woman who lives in Washington, D.C. They keep doing this. House Republicans insisted last year as part of the national budget that Washington, D.C. be blocked as a city from using any of its own city funds to subsidize any abortion services. Not federal money, but the city`s own money, they`re not allowed to decide what to do with it. Congress is likely this year to force a ban on local funding for abortion as a condition of D.C. getting some say in its own budget. And now Republican Congressman Trent Franks has a standalone bill that he`s holding a hearing on tomorrow, about the federal government stepping in to an imposed new limits on abortion rights for women who live in Washington, D.C. Why should a guy from Arizona be legislating what happens in this little city that`s between Maryland and Virginia? Jobs, jobs, jobs? I have no idea why Trent Franks think he was sent to Congress to impose on a city he does not represent, rules that that city does not want. But he seems very confident in it. He seems so confident in it, in fact that he is not allowing the member of Congress who represents Washington, D.C. to have a say in this matter. Actually, she`s not allowed to vote, so she definitely doesn`t get to have a say in this matter, but he won`t even let her comment on it. He won`t even allow her to be heard. Trent Franks, Republican congressman from Arizona, is holding a hearing on his anti-abortion bill that targets D.C. tomorrow. The representative from D.C., Eleanor Holmes Norton, has asked to speak at that hearing, since it is a hearing only about her city, the answer from House Republicans is, no, it is about Washington, D.C., but the views of the elected representative from D.C. are not welcome. Not when the guys are busy talking about abortion. Job, jobs, jobs. Joining us now is Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton of Washington, D.C. Congresswoman, thank you very much for being here. I really appreciate your time tonight. DEL. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON (D), WASHINGTON, D.C.: Of course, Rachel. MADDOW: You asked to be allowed to hear to testify at this hearing on a bill that specifically targeting your district and you were refused. Is there precedent for allowing a member from an opposing market to speak on legislation that affects his or her district? NORTON: Abundant precedent. Rachel, when there is a bill, a bill affecting a country, but you want to speak on the bill, perhaps you were a cosponsor, maybe one of 10 cosponsors, you get to speak on the bill for any of the really relevant witnesses do. Here, you have a bill that affects only my district, no other districts in the United States, which singles out the residents of the District of Columbia and say, you women will not be subject to the constitutional mandate of Roe versus Wade. You alone can have an abortion only until 20 weeks. By the way, don`t talk to us about how this violates the 14th Amendment as well, which treats you differently from women in other states. Not only are we going to try to impose that on you, but we don`t want to hear from the only voice you have in the House, you have no voice in the Senate, we shut her up, so we don`t hear from D.C. residents at all. Fortunately, we do have a young woman who has gone through this experience who has a very relevant story to show. But nobody who can speak for, who has been elected by the representatives of the District of Columbia, an all-male panel will hear why they should have their Roe versus Wade with rights differentiated from those of every other woman in the United States. MADDOW: Congressman Franks has prioritized the issue of abortion legislation in his career. In this case, he`s specifically going after D.C., but he has pushed anti-abortion legislation every time he has the opportunity. Why do you think something targeting your district, targeting Washington, D.C., is important to Republicans this year? Important to somebody who has this as a national agenda? NORTON: Rachel, we pointed out to him that his own district allowed abortions after 20 weeks, so he quickly got somebody to introduce a bill there. I don`t know if it`s passed yet. But there`s one and only one reason why he targets the District of Columbia. It`s such a principled matter, Rachel. Why wouldn`t he want this principle to apply to every district in the United States? This is a straight-out cowardly case of bullying. Because the Congress has somewhat more jurisdiction over the district than others, because he doesn`t have the nerve to try to paste this on the United States of America, he`s trying to make it his ideological point by going, like a big bully, at the only residents who don`t have a voting member -- yes, I vote in committee, but no voting member in the final vote, and has no senators to protect the district. That`s why he`s doing it. A straight-up gang-up on the most disempowered district in the United States of America. But let me tell you something about us, we know how to fight back. MADDOW: Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Democrat of Washington, D.C. -- I have absolutely no doubt about that last point you just made. Ma`am, thank you very much for talking to us tonight. Good luck tomorrow when I know this hearing is going to be convened. Good luck. NORTON: Thank you, Rachel. MADDOW: Thank you. All right, still ahead, Jane Lynch is here tonight. Also, Richard Engel is here tonight. And no, I did not find them in the same place. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So, what happens when NBC`s chief foreign correspondent, my friend, Richard Engel, e-mails me in the morning and tells me he has news that he really, really, really wants to talk about on the show? At some point that night, I say to you, just ahead, we`re going to have Richard Engel ahead on the show. That`s coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) CHRISTINE O`DONNELL (R), FORMER DELAWARE SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I`m not a witch. American scientific companies are crossbreeding humans and animals, and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains. REPORTER: Why should we vote for you? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why should you vote for me? Because I do not wear high heels. REPORTER: How do you feel about abortion? Are you for abortion, against abortion? If you`re for it, in what instances would you allow for abortion? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am pro-life and I`ll answer the next question. I don`t believe in the exceptions of rape or incest. SHARRON ANGLE (R), FORMER NEVADA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I`m hoping that we`re not getting to Second Amendment remedies. I hope the vote will be the cure for the Harry Reid problems. (END VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: Those were all candidates from the 2010 election cycle. This was the open carry armed contingent of Alaska Republican Joe Miller supporters in 2010. Joe Miller was the Republican candidate for Senate in Alaska in 2010. He lost. Republicans were really, really, really confident heading into that last election cycle in 2010. They knew they were going to win big all across the country. But candidate "I am not a witch" and candidate `I don`t wear high heels" and candidate "Second Amendment remedies" -- those candidates did not win. No matter how bright red or bright blue one particular election is, candidates do matter. Not just parties, but candidates matter. And in some of the key races in 2010, Republicans, you know, frankly just picked badly when they picked their candidates. They had more electable, more moderate candidates available, but they rejected them in favor of the Sharon Angles of the world. And the consequence of that for the Republicans was that no matter how red the election of 2010 was across the country, especially in Congress, no matter how red the results were overall -- well, for example, Democrats kept the Senate. That`s what happened in 2010. Is that now happening again? In Nebraska last night, an avalanche of right-wing money against the establishment front-runner, money from the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks and Jim DeMint`s PAC thing, an avalanche of right-wing money destroyed the front running Senate Republican candidate in Nebraska, the state attorney general. Had the front-runner won, Democrats were frankly all but writing off any chance of keeping Senator Ben Nelson`s seat in the Democratic Party. But since that tide of right-wing money took out the guy that everybody expected to win, the race is now going to be former Democratic senator and governor, Bob Kerry, against a Republican state senator nobody`s ever heard of, who`s never won a statewide race. And that Nebraska Senate seat staying Democratic is now much, much, much more plausible than it was even 24 hours ago. The same thing happened in Indiana new days ago, with Senator Dick Lugar running for re-election in Indiana. That seat was with essentially a 100 percent sure bet to remain Republican. But Dick Lugar will not be on the ballot this fall. Instead, the Republican line will be held down by a hard-core Tea Party challenger who beat Dick Lugar in the primary. He`s a guy who already ran for Congress three times. He has lost three times. So, now, Dick Lugar`s reliably 100 percent definitely Republican seat might not actually turn blue. Are we watching a replay of the Christine O`Donnell, Ken Buck, Sharron Angle, great Republican botch of 2010? Is this the sequel? We won`t know until election night in November, but we`re going to know a little bit more in a few days. On Friday, Connecticut Republicans will be picking their Senate at their state convention. Their choices are the moderate, well-known former Congressman Chris Shays who looked strong in the polling for the polling or wrestling executive Linda McMahon, who won the nomination in 2010 and then spent $50 million of her own money, trying to win a Senate seat in 2010 and she lost, even in that super Republican year. So, we will see if Connecticut keeps up the trend of what Dick Lugar is calling the purification process in these Republican primaries. I think it`s a process that must feel great to the Republicans, because they keep doing it. But so far, in 2012, just like in 2010, it means that the Democrats are starting to look like they will have a chance of holding on to the Senate in November. That is something that nobody thought the Democrats could do until a few months ago, without this unexpected windfall they have had from the Republican primaries. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let`s start with your laugh. MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, I live for laughter. I mean -- (LAUGHTER) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It isn`t working. It`s inert. It just doesn`t come across as genuine. Worst of all, it`s mirthless, which is to say that while you expect us to be amused, you`re not the least bit amused yourself. I`ve advised people who are watching you to freeze the frame and then put their hands over the lower part of your face and look at your eyes. There`s no pleasure there. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The legendary James Lipton at the Web site of "New York" magazine, offering acting tips to Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. Running for president is partly introducing yourself to the country, explaining what you would do if elected. But it is also sort of a way of modeling appropriate behavior as a leader, showing the country how you think a leader should behave. We scrutinize every nuance from these guys, because the way a politician behaves on the campaign trail is, in essence, a lesson they are teaching the country about how they think authority figures should behave in our country. Tonight on this show, we are about to hear from the person who is the most opposite of that in our American culture, the actor who has made a career modeling very bad behavior by authority figures. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) JANE LYNCH, ACTRESS: Don`t you sass me. What, do you think, I`m a pushover? You know what I used to eat for breakfast? Cocaine. You know what I used to eat for lunch? Cocaine. I`m very discreet, but I`ll haunt your dreams. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. LYNCH: OK. You know how I feel about hats. Just cause none of you should be making eye contact with me. Get out! Go! Get used to this abuse, glee kids, I got nothing but time. Nothing but time. (END VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: Jane Lynch as counselor, as boss, as cheerleading coach -- America`s favorite authority figure/anti-role model. How not to behave if you`re in charge of something. Jane Lynch is here tonight to do a special edition of the best new thing in the world and we`re all really excited. That`s coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: "Reuters" has a new poll of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. It shows that those veterans and their families favor President Obama over Mitt Romney in the presidential election by seven points. Same poll shows that by a 10-point margin, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families think that we should get out of Afghanistan. This is the St. Louis, Missouri, parade that was held in January to mark the end of the Iraq war -- to say welcome home and thank you to the troops who fought in Iraq. This weekend, there`ll be two more of these parades, one in Richmond, Virginia, and one in Kansas City, Missouri. If you are in driving distance of either city, each parade is plan for Saturday. In Virginia, it starts at 10:00 a.m., in downtown Richmond. That`s the boulevard. The parade ends at Bird Park in Richmond with a resource village to help hook veterans up with job opportunities. In Kansas City, Missouri, the parade is also on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. everybody`s welcome. They`re expecting thousands of veterans. It starts at Grand Boulevard and Pershing downtown, not too far from the train station in Kansas City. They`re going to walk the parade route and it too will end up with a resource village for these post-9/11 vets. So, again, that`s Kansas City, Missouri, and Richmond, Virginia, this weekend, Saturday at 10:00. You could go. This is something for civilians to do. It`s been civilians, regular folks like you who have organized these parades to mark the fact that our war in Iraq is over after 8 1/2 years and to say welcome home and thank you to the troops who went there in our name. Meanwhile, there is some big news that has just broken on our war that is still ongoing in Afghanistan. This is a politics story, but it is also really important logistic news about how exactly we are going to extract ourselves from that country. Joining us now to explain is NBC News chief foreign correspondent, Richard Engel. Richard, it`s great to see you. Thank you for being here. RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: It`s great to be here. Thank you. We haven`t done this enough, but we should do this more. MADDOW: Well, you`re not here enough, but we should. ENGEL: It`s not just a logistics story; it`s a story that`s revealing about bilateral relations. It`s about pressure, and it`s about Pakistan. MADDOW: OK. ENGEL: And Afghanistan, as you mentioned, we still have about 100,000 troops there, they`re supposed to be there for the next two years. But starting now, the drawdown is under way and it`s going to be picking up. So how do you get out of that country? MADDOW: It`s landlocked. ENGEL: It`s landlocked. It`s in Central Asia. It is high in the mountains, in the foothills of the Himalayas. MADDOW: It`s right next to Iran, which we can`t go through by any means. ENGEL: Exactly. So, for the entire -- most of the war, almost all of the supplies have gone through Pakistan. But six months ago, Pakistan closed its border. There was a very ugly incident. The two country`s relations, U.S.-Pakistan has been bad since Osama bin Laden was found hiding in Pakistan. Then there was an incident when the U.S. troops killed 24 Pakistanis and the Pakistanis closed the border. We`ve learned that very soon, tomorrow, the next day, Pakistan is going to announce that it will reopen its border to allow two-way traffic, supplies to go into Afghanistan and supplies and troops to leave. So it will become a two-way highway, a very, very important supply route -- because for the last six months, helicopters, planes have been flying out vehicles. Think about trying to empty a lake with a spoon. MADDOW: Yes. ENGEL: How long it takes, how expensive it is, and all of the other people we`ve had to pay kickbacks to and things like that. But it comes with a big price. MADDOW: Literally, a big price. ENGEL: Literally a big price. MADDOW: They`re charging us to do this. ENGEL: A million dollars a day. So that`s roughly the figure that Pakistan is going to ask for, for use of its roads. MADDOW: Wow -- do we know -- ENGEL: And there`s more. There`s another $1 billion I`ll get to in a second. MADDOW: Do we know enough about the comparative cost of shipping stuff overland through Pakistan, which is the cheaper way to move heavy equipment, is it $365 million a year cheaper, since that`s we`re going to be paying in addition to the -- ENGEL: We don`t really know what the costs are right now. There are -- the route in from -- because Pakistan does have a border. There`s a port. So you can get from Karachi on a boat, you drive and it`s about 500 miles until you get to Afghanistan. So it`s not that long, and the other way, you get from Afghanistan, you drive through the Khyber Pass and get down to the port and you can put your goods on a ship and ship them out. So even at $1 million a day, it`s cheaper than flying them to Central Asia, than driving them across Central Asia to the Black Sea, which then has to go all the way around the world to get back here. And that`s like a 6,000 mile trade route. So this is cheaper. MADDOW: What`s the extra billion dollars? ENGEL: OK. The extra $1 billion is not directly linked to this, but it`s a de facto link. This is what`s going to happen. Pakistan, which wants the $1 million for use of the roads, because it says having all these vehicles going across the roads is wear and tear on the roads. It comes out to about $1,600 to $1,800 per vehicle. MADDOW: Wow. ENGEL: And that`s a heavy toll. The $1.1 billion more is for something else, which is going to get settled. Pakistan says the United States owes several billion dollars for past services rendered in the war on terrorism. MADDOW: Wow. ENGEL: There is a deal between the U.S. and Pakistan that says the U.S. pays for Pakistan`s contribution in what is still in Pakistan called the war on terrorism. So, if Pakistan moves troops to help set up a blocking position across the border from Afghanistan, the helicopter fuel and whatever wear and tear there is on those vehicles is covered by the United States. And that`s an agreement that`s been in place for a long time. And Pakistan puts -- gives us receipts and we`re supposed to reimburse them. Well, since bin Laden was found, hiding in Pakistan, the United States hasn`t been paying those bills. And now that these deals are going to come and once this gets announced, which I think will be quite soon, we`re going to have to pay those back. MADDOW: Wow. ENGEL: Services rendered fee for the global war on terrorism. So it`s going to be $1 million a day plus around $1.1 billion. And the toll -- the tab is still running on those services rendered, by the way. MADDOW: NBC News chief foreign correspondent, Richard Engel -- now, when everybody hears, like, oh, there`s this NATO meeting in Chicago and the president of Pakistan is going to be there, he`s not in NATO, now we`ll all understand. ENGEL: The 20th to the 21st is that NATO meeting in Chicago, the idea is to have this happen and the border trucks flowing in time when they show up to the NATO meeting, what are you talking about? Everything`s great, the trucks are already moving. It may not be possible, but that`s the goal. MADDOW: Richard, thank you. Richard Engel, NBC`s chief foreign correspondent. We will be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Jane Lynch and a special edition of the best new thing in the world, coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: It is now day two of this new era in the presidential campaign. What new era in the presidential campaign? Well, quoting verbatim from ABC News yesterday, "Mitt Romney has the support of George W. Bush." "I`m for Mitt Romney," Bush told ABC News yesterday as the doors of an elevator closed on him," end quote. Yesterday was the day that George W. Bush officially endorsed Mitt Romney for president, as quietly as possible. I`m sure this is just some kind of oversight, but these are the Romney campaign`s press releases from today and a press release about the big George W. Bush endorsement is not among them. By way of contrast, the Romney campaign did put out a press release to celebrate their endorsement from the "I am not a witch" candidate who lost her Senate race by 17 points, but they are not press releasing their endorsement from the last president of the United States. Mitt Romney was out campaigning today in St. Petersburg, Florida. See if you can pick up on the very specific word choice he uses in this particular part of his stump speech attacking President Obama. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: He was very critical of his predecessor for the debts the predecessor put in place. He was very critical of his predecessor, because the predecessor put together $4 trillion of debt over eight years. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The predecessor is not that easy to pronounce. It is not really that easy to pronounce four times in 10 seconds. But thou must not speaketh his name. When reporters started asking the Romney campaign today what role they envisioned in the campaign for George W. Bush, what role the predecessor, the previous Republican president might play in this year`s Republican race, they were told by Republicans close to the Romney campaign that, quote, "There are no plans to use Bush in a significant way." Republicans are really intent right now on claiming that George W. Bush will not factor into this the year`s presidential race, whatsoever. He`s not even involved in politics anymore. Here`s what former Bush aide Steve Schmidt told us about that last night on this show. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STEVE SCHMIDT, FORMER BUSH AIDE: George W. Bush has a traditionalist approach to this. He`s really retired from political life. You know, he is out of the combat and conflict of day-to-day politics. You know, as someone who worked in the administration and worked on the campaign, you know, the Bush alumni network, you know, we all enjoy getting the Facebook pictures of him with wounded warriors out, you know, on bike rides, running with them. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: He`s retired from political life, he is out of the day-to- day combat of politics. I understand why that is what Republicans want from President George W. Bush. But that is not actually what`s going on. Just last month, for example, here`s George W. Bush arguing very publicly that President Obama should approve the Keystone tar sands oil pipeline. Here`s George W. Bush in Washington, D.C., just yesterday, advocating for how the U.S. should proceed on foreign policy matters when it comes to the Arab Spring. Oh, but wait, there`s more. As "The New York Times" noted in covering what George W. Bush thinks about foreign events, quote, "two months from now, President Bush plans to publish a book." Really, what kind of book? "A book outlining strategies for economic growth." Not only is that not retired, that`s amazing. I mean, George W. Bush has lessons to offer on the economy. Lest we forget, this was your economy on George W. Bush. The first line there is household income in the 1980s, then household income in the `90s, and there`s household income under George W. Bush, dropping. Here`s poverty going down in the `80s, going down in the `90s, and here`s poverty going up under President George W. Bush. Here`s job growth in the `80s, here`s job growth in the `90s, and here`s job growth under George W. Bush. Oh, wise, economic master, please share with us your secrets. Republicans may want George W. Bush to disappear from public life, like he did behind those elevator doors in the seconds after he endorsed Mitt Romney yesterday. But he is not going away. He has a book of economic advice coming out right before the election. Maybe the Romney campaign will get really lucky and George W. Bush will start a lecture series on, what, avoiding unnecessary wars? Maybe hurricane preparedness? George W. Bush is getting back into politics, ladies and gentlemen, on the side of Mitt Romney and in time for the presidential election. That sound you hear is Democrats across America throwing open their front doors and running into the streets, jubilant, looking for somebody to high five. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) LYNCH: The best new thing in the world today is a growth opportunity for Republican political strategist, a lucrative source of revenue just waiting to be tapped. Now I, Jane Lynch, am not normally one to give career advice to Republicans, but guys and gals, there`s money to be made on promoting gay rights within the Republican Party. You see, the de facto head of the Republican Party, one Willard Mitt Romney has taken a strong position on the side of the gay rights debate, that if your politician is getting to be on the side you don`t much want to be on. But the rest of his party may be about to evolve around him. This weekend a respective Republican pollster, one who helped President George W. Bush win re-election, wrote a memo, basically saying guys, I`ve got a lot of polling here, and the gay marriage thing is getting kind of popular. And he suggested that Republicans might want to change the way they talk about stuff, like gay marriage. Maybe start saying that support for gay marriage is consistent with, quote, "conservative fundamentals" As people who promote personal responsibility, family values, commitment and stability and emphasize freedom and limited government, we have to recognize that freedom means freedom for everyone. This includes the freedom to decide how you live and to enter into relationships of your choosing -- the freedom to live without the interference of the regulatory force of the government. Folks, that`s a Republican telling Republicans to reframe gay rights -- to make equality under the law sound like a conservative principle, which it is. He may be one of the first to do it, but he won`t be the last. But, Jane Lynch, you ask, where is the job opportunity in all of this? After all, we Republicans are all about jobs, jobs, jobs. Well, here it is. Someone is going to have to teach Republicans to talk about gay rights, without seeming like they`ve caved to the Democrats. Some strategists are going to have to make it their specialty to teach Republicans how do be pro gay while still sounding angry. That`s a very tall order, but the good news is, you can charge more money. Republicans are trying to figure out how to lose gracefully -- the best new thing in the world today. (APPLAUSE) MADDOW: Jane Lynch, you`re the best new thing in the world today. LYNCH: Oh, thank you so much. MADDOW: When you said folks -- do I do that? LYNCH: You do, I was mocking you. MADDOW: Yes, I felt it -- I felt it in a very painful way. Thank you for doing the best new thing in the world. LYNCH: Thanks for having me. MADDOW: It`s weird I`m in the guest chair. LYNCH: I know. How does it feel? MADDOW: Subservient, but in a good way. LYNCH: I`m up a little higher and this is the better side of my face. I`m really happy. MADDOW: Do you want to be a cable news host ever? LYNCH: I would love to play one. MADDOW: Yes. LYNCH: I don`t know that I would want to do it day in and day out. I know how much you work and how you have to have your finger on the pulse and all that. But I`m a political junkie. But yes, I`d love to play one. MADDOW: When we asked you, you had a Republican pollster memo in mind for what you wanted to do. LYNCH: Yes. MADDOW: The thing about the subject of what you just talked about that I think is interesting is that this is something -- I mean, you are out. You are Sue Sylvester on "Glee." You`ve written the book "Happy Accidents," in which you talk about you`re coming out story and your family and all these other personal things, and we are in a moment when the politics of gay rights are rapidly, rapidly changing the country. LYNCH: I know. Fast. Really fast. You know, it`s an issue that I have not really taken personally so much. I mean, it`s something that I watch on television with great interest. I have a stake in it. I`ve got skin in the game. But when the president came out and said that he supported the dignity of our families and our relationships -- that really moved me. That really touched me for the first time. And I realized I had been kind of distanced emotionally from it. But that really broke it open for me. It made me very, very happy. MADDOW: See, I felt like -- that was one of the things that covering it as a gay person, thinking about it as a gay person and covering it as a gay person in the news, I felt like half of me had to have a talk with the other half. LYNCH: Understood. MADDOW: Because in the one pundit world, the way that that was responded to and the way that way that people are still talking about in pundit world, in politics world, is well how many people are there who agree with the president, it`s going to help it with him? How many people disagree, it`s going to hurt him with them? And the gay part of me, sort of human part of me wants to explain, you know what, the big issue here is not who already agrees or disagrees with him, but who is changing their mind? Who`s persuadable? And is he going to persuade anybody? Does this change history? LYNCH: Yes, I don`t know if it changes history. I don`t know if it was just political calculus on his part. But I think he really believes in the dignity of our relationships and our right to exist. But I think there are people we`re not going to get. And that`s fine. And probably not in this lifetime, and that`s fine. But I think there are changeable folks. And I think a lot of people change when they`re in the presence of one of us. They get to know us, and they get to know our family. And I think that`s -- you know, that`s why I think being out for me, anyway, is important, and, you know, allowing myself to, you know, appear in public with my family and not hiding about it. I think that`s really important. I have a sound bite from before President Obama came out and said what he did. A few days before that, Vice President Biden, God bless him, on "Meet the Press." LYNCH: Yes. MADDOW: To everybody`s surprise started talking about how he was all in favor of same sex marriage. But he mentioned, he hit a pop culture TV touchstone while he was explaining it. Guys, can we play that sound bite? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is evolving and my measure, David, and I take a look at when things really begin to change is when the social culture changes. I think "Will and Grace" probably did more to educate the American public than almost anything anybody has ever done so far. And I think that people fear that which is different. Now they`re beginning to understand. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: As a person who is part of the phenomenon that is "Glee" on TV -- how do you think it felt to the "Will and Grace" people to be mentioned in that context? LYNCH: I`m all for them. And I`m sure they`re absolutely thrilled about it. When they first did that show and NBC sat them down and said, this could possibly turn into a huge thing and you might be threatened. It might get ugly. It never happened. Never happened. And these are flawed characters. They`re funny. You laugh at them. You want to go in the apartment every -- whatever night it was on, Thursday night, and hang out with them. And I think that that does change a lot. Like Biden said, you have to put us out in the culture and see who we are. And if we`re flawed, it has nothing to do with our orientation. It`s because we`re flawed. MADDOW: Full human beings. LYNCH: Full human beings. MADDOW: Shocker. LYNCH: Aren`t we? MADDOW: I wonder if you think there`s an extension. You were saying as people know more gay people, as people come out, that tends to sort soften very hard attitudes. Is there an extension that as people are exposed to the reality of gay lives, through culture, through TV, through theater, whatever it is, that it also has that effect? LYNCH: Absolutely. People tied to this their televisions. People come up to me like they know me because I appear on their television. MADDOW: They want you to believe them. LYNCH: Say something mean to me. They think we`re they`re friends. So we do befriend the people on our television, so I think it`s really great like Ryan Murphy, the creator of our shoe takes this very seriously. That`s why he has every flavor of kid in the "Glee" club. He wants every kid who watches to have somebody that they can point to and go, that`s me. And, look, I`m being supported. I`m in a place where people have my back, and I get to raise my voice in song. MADDOW: Yes. You know, I always felt like one of the things that I would always try to explain to people about like what I learned from junior high and high school is that popularity in junior high and high school doesn`t buy you anything in later life. And then I hear really you ought to look for the kids who are -- like the dorkier you are at those important ages, the cooler you are probably going to be as an adult. It`s not always true. But that`s what I observe. LYNCH: I think if you`re being dorky or what is perceived geeky, it`s because it is a geeky/dorky time in your life. So, you`re being genuine. MADDOW: Yes. LYNCH: You`re being yourself. You`re not trying to be something else. How many junior high or high school stars have we heard about who have just failed as adulthoods because they really haven`t gone through that. They haven`t gotten to know their true self. MADDOW: Yes, I sort of feel like I`m waiting to meet my true self. LYNCH: I`m looking at her and she`s great. MADDOW: It`s going to be in a dark alley and there`s going to be a fight when it happens. One last question for you about politics. LYNCH: Sure. Yes. MADDOW: And that is, at the same time that we`ve been seeing this transformation in the Democratic Party, the president completing his evolution and all these different things, on the right, in the Republican Party -- Mitt Romney has actually gone the other direction in his stance on gay rights. When he ran for Senate, he said he would be to the left of Ted Kennedy. LYNCH: Left of Ted Kennedy, yes. MADDOW: And now, he`s not only against equal marriage rights. He`s against civil unions. And -- LYNCH: Even us talking together right now, he`s probably against that. MADDOW: Yes. That`s exactly right. It`s probably illegal somewhere, and he supports that state`s right to make it that way. I don`t -- I understand how people evolve on this issue. It`s hard for me to understand how people devolve. LYNCH: Devolve, yes. I don`t think you do devolve on this issue. I don`t buy it. I don`t think it`s genuine. I think it`s politically calculated? MADDOW: Mitt Romney? LYNCH: Mitt Romney politically calculated. I think deep down inside, yes, I think there`s a little bit of calculus going on with him. MADDOW: Well, if he wants to come on the show or talk to me, or fake me, which is you about that, that would be awesome. LYNCH: I would love that. MADDOW: Jane Lynch, I should say the finale of "Glee" airs next Tuesday night on FOX. And the new book, which is awesome "Happy Accidents" with a forward by Carol Burnett, which is really great, is now on paperback. Jane, thank you very much. LYNCH: Thank you very much. MADDOW: And any time you want to do the show. I can get an $11 blazer. LYNCH: Terrific. MADDOW: That does it for us tonight. Now, it`s time for the "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