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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 07/12/12

Guests: Christopher Rowland, Mudcat Saunders

ED SCHULTZ, "THE ED SHOW" HOST: We did learn on the offseason how to put the uniforms on. RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Very good. SCHULTZ: We should be better this year. MADDOW: Starts somewhere. I`ll check in with Mr. Brady and see if he thinks that`s going to be enough. SCHULTZ: All right. MADDOW: All right. Thank you, Ed. And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour. The first time that Mitt Romney ran for office was in 1994. He ran for the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MITT ROMNEY (R-MASS), THEN-SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in the country. I have since the time my mom took the position when she ran in 1970 as a U.S. Senate candidate. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years, that we should sustain and support it. Look, I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush. I`m not trying to return to Reagan-Bush. I want universal coverage. I want everyone in Massachusetts and this country to have insurance. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Despite trying his best to run to the center that year, to appear to be a moderate, Mr. Romney even promised that he was to the left of his opponent Ted Kennedy on the issue of gay rights in that election. Despite that Herculean ideological stretching, Mr. Romney lost the race badly to Senator Kennedy. It was not the culture war issues, those social issues that are credited with having made the difference in that election. The race didn`t end up being much about health insurance or even whether or not Mitt Romney or Ted Kennedy were liberal or conservatives on abortion rights or gay rights or gun rights or anything like that. Observers of that race say Mitt Romney lost that badly. Look at that. He lost by 17 points to Ted Kennedy in that race more because of this issue. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) NARRATOR: Mitt Romney`s ads claim he created jobs, but what`s the record? His firm bought a company in Holyoke and moved its headquarters to Dallas, Texas. Romney`s firm bought a company called SCM, fired all 350 workers. Told some they could reapply at a 25 percent pay cut. But many who are pregnant or older were denied jobs. And Romney made $11 million in two years. Mitt Romney, he`s misled us twice. With negative ads distorting Senator Kennedy`s record and the phony claims about his own. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would like to say to Mitt Romney if you think you can make such a good senator, come out here to Marion, Indiana, and see what your company has done to these people. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We had no rights anymore. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They cut the wages. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We no longer had insurance. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Basically cut our throats. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would like to say to the people of Massachusetts that if you think it can`t happen to you, think again -- because we thought it wouldn`t happen here either. NARRATOR: Mitt Romney, "I don`t mean to be callous, but there are people all over the world who would love a job flipping hamburgers in America." Romney -- in business, he specialized in low wage jobs but made $11 million for himself in two years. Now, he favors policies to benefit the wealthy at the expense of working families. Romney favors $100 billion tax cut for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans and billions more in other tax breaks for the rich. Romney, trickle down economics and a millionaire`s tax cut. Whose side is he on? (END VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: Those are the ads that Ted Kennedy used against Mitt Romney in 1994. Specifically those folks from Indiana, they had a whole series of ads like the ones from Indiana, highlighting what Mitt Romney`s Bain Capital did to the people who worked at some of these companies that Romney and Bain personally got rich off of. Ted Kennedy just devastated Mitt Romney in 1994 in that Senate race with those ads. So Ted Kennedy went back to the Senate, after he won that. Mitt Romney went back to Bain. And he did a stint at the Salt Lake City Olympics. And then when he decided he wanted to run again for public office, Mr. Romney man in 2002 for Massachusetts governor. He ran against a Democratic opponent Shannon O`Brien. And Shannon O`Brien -- no surprise, decided to run against Mitt Romney in part by updating the same attacks that have been so devastating against Romney eight years earlier in the Ted Kennedy Senate race. And instead of the Ampad Indiana paper mill that Ted Kennedy used in the ads against Mr. Romney in 1994, eight years later in 2002, Shannon O`Brien decided to use the GST Steel Mill experience against Mr. Romney. GST Steel Mill was a mill in operation since 1888 before Bain got ahold of it. The end was the mill shut down, 750 jobs lost, the employees did not get the severance pay or the health insurance they have been promised. Their pension benefits got cut by hundreds of dollars a month. On the pension thing specifically, the federal government had to pitch in tens of millions of dollars to bail out the workers that Bain cut off through a pension guarantee program. But hey, Bain made money off it. Mitt Romney made money off it. Shannon O`Brien hit Mitt Romney with that story in 2002. Newt Gingrich hit Mitt Romney with that story this year. It was part of that whole "King of Bain" thing that Newt Gingrich deployed against Mitt Romney. Rick Perry even hit Mitt Romney with that last year. President Obama`s campaign hits Mr. Romney with it, too. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They issued $125 million of bonds. And out of that $125 million debt, they paid themselves almost $40 million. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like a vampire, who came in and sucked the life out of us. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Every time Mitt Romney has been hit with political criticism for that economic bomb that he and Bain Capital dropped on those steel workers, in part leaving the taxpayers to clean up the mess, every time he`s been hit by that, his response has been the same. The response is: I wasn`t there. I didn`t do it. Yes, Mr. Romney said he made the initial decisions about that company, but, you can`t blame him for how it turned out because he was gone by the time it blew up. He was gone from Bain after 1999. He went do go run the Olympics. He was gone from Bain after 1999 and the bankruptcy didn`t happen until 2001. So you can`t make him answer if that bankruptcy. You can`t make him answer for anything at Bain after 1999. That`s what he`s been saying this year about the criticism. That was the response to primary rivals hitting him with it last year. That was also his response in 2002, when Shannon O`Brien used it against him 10 years ago: I wasn`t there. I didn`t do it. I don`t have to answer for anything at Bain after 1999. I left. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: You know at the time that plant closed I was at the Olympics, and when I left Massachusetts to go run the Olympics and left my organization, I was out there full time. As a matter of fact, as I recall, you brought a challenge against me, and your party did, to say I wasn`t qualified to be governor because I was in Utah. Well, actually, you were right. I was in Utah full time. I had no responsibility for management at Bain Capital. Our lawyer has pointed that out to you. The executives at the steel company have pointed that out to you. SHANNON O`BRIEN (D), FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR: You still haven`t answered the question. ROMNEY: You keep asking new questions. O`BRIEN: I asked one. ROMNEY: I`m trying to answer as quickly as I can. O`BRIEN: I asked one question. ROMNEY: And the answer is I was at the Olympics running the game. That was a job I had. Therefore, I was not running Bain Capital, and therefore not responsible for the actions of Bain Capital when I left. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: I am not response for Bain Capital when I left, and I left in 1999. Mr. Romney has made that same argument in response to criticism over a whole lot of things that his company did. The "Washington Post" last month ran this rather devastating story on Romney and Bain, investing in firms that helped American companies shift jobs overseas. Mr. Romney`s company investing in and even managing companies that called themselves pioneers in outsourcing American jobs to other countries. Again with the steel plant, Mr. Romney`s response was: I wasn`t there. I didn`t do it. I don`t have to answer for anything at Bain after 1999. I left. The Romney campaign even asked for a retraction of "The Washington Post" story. They took a very high profile meeting with "The Washington Post," saying that story is wrong. I wasn`t there. I didn`t do it. I don`t have to answer for anything at Bain after 1999. I left. Kind of sounds like a good defense, right? I mean, if the guy didn`t work there when this stuff happened, how can he be held accountable for what his company did after he left? Well, it maybe should have been a sign when the "Washington Post" did not retract its story about Mr. Romney and those outsourcing firms despite the campaign`s very public demand. Over the last few weeks, David Corn at "Mother Jones" magazine and Josh Marshall at "Talking Points Memo" started reporting that the seemingly airtight defense, this trap door that Mitt Romney has been jumping through in every political contest he`s been in since Ted Kennedy beat him so 7 badly 18 years ago, using Mr. Romney`s business record. This escape hatch he`s been using to evade criticism for some of the most politically damaging damage that Bain wrecked on American workers and communities while getting very rich themselves in the process, that defense of his, that "I wasn`t there, I didn`t do it. I left in 1999" -- maybe that defense is not true. Today, "The Boston Globe" leads with this story. Look. "Romney stayed longer at Bain." Firm`s 2002 filings identify them as CEO, though he said he left in 1999. According to the "Globe`s" reporting, SEC filings show Mr. Romney listed as the sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer and chairman of the board, and president of the president. Not just in 1999 when he says he left, but also in 2000, and 2001, and 2002. In 2001 and 2002, he got paid six figures for being an executive of the firm. During the time period in which the most potent political attacks ever used against him have for years now been: I wasn`t there, I didn`t do it. I don`t have to answer for this. I left. It doesn`t seem like he left. Today`s report in the "Boston Globe" shared the bylines of Callum Borchers and Christopher Rowland. Joining us now is Christopher Rowland. He`s the paper`s Washington bureau chief. Mr. Rowland, thanks very much for being here. Congratulations on your scoop today. CHRISTOPHER ROWLAND, BOSTON GLOBE DC BUREAU CHIEF: Thank you. Thanks for having me. MADDOW: You know a lot more about the story and the documents on which it`s based than I do. So, I have to ask if I got anything wrong there. Is there anything I should correct? ROWLAND: No. Basically the rough outlines are as you say, you know, Mitt Romney has used his departure date of 1999 from Bain as his first line of defense for a variety of attacks by the Obama administration and for Democrats before that, for years. Really this has been his main talking point when confronted with things like bankruptcies and layoffs and a lot of the difficult things that Bain did over the years. So what`s really interesting now, though, when you see in paper trail an and the SEC documents that list him throughout a variety of documents as president, CEO, chairman of Bain Capital and sole owner of a variety of investment partner ships, including five that were created in 2002. So the paper trail that they created over those three years really paints a totally different picture of Mitt Romney`s involvement with the firm. If you look at the paperwork alone, it shows that he was the man in charge. That`s a big startling change from the way that they`ve described it over the years. Now the key is that they -- he indeed did leave. He was indeed in Salt Lake. So, you know, to a certain extent, he`s legally in charge. I don`t think that "The Globe" and other reporting is not saying he was in the boardroom on a daily basis at Bain calling the shots. But certainly, his records show that he was in charge. He had legal responsibility. He was the man with oversight responsibility for people in the company. MADDOW: Well, is it legal or -- I guess, more broadly, is it considered kosher in business terms to be listed on SEC filings as the firm`s sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive and president while you`ve got partnership agreements. You have the entities starting up new entities in business, but to actually have that person have no role whatsoever in that firm? Is that legally sound? ROWLAND: Well, certainly there`s a variety of experts and former SEC commissioners and the people like that, and lawyers in this field who say that it`s not entirely kosher. And these SEC documents do matter. They are material to the operation of a variety of companies that are buying and trading shares. And one of the keys is Bain Capital is not a publicly traded company. So it`s a little different than misleading investors about who your CEO is, mom and pop on main street can`t buy stock in Bain Capital. But what it does do is it paints a far different picture than was reported to be the reality that, you know, that there was a different band of people running that company. And so these documents are throughout SEC filings. Some people have said that, and the Romney people suggest sort of on background, although they haven`t come out and asserted this directly, that it`s more of a technicality and legality and there was sort of a legacy filings, but when you see five companies, you know, five investment partnerships being created by Mitt Romney in 2002, brand new, it sort of doesn`t sound like legacy filings or leftovers or boilerplate that just happened to find itself way in there. MADDOW: There`s been some discussion today about whether or not the Romney folks were looking for a correction or a retraction on the article, as I understand it there`s no correction or retraction forthcoming from "The Globe". Their specific complaint, what they said is the article is not accurate. Governor Romney left Bain Capital in February of 1999 to run the Olympics and had no input on investments of the company after that point. Let me just ask you whether or not you have reported anything either way about whether or not he had direct investment or management of companies after that point. It seems like that`s beside the point of what it is that you documented today. ROWLAND: Right. Our story was really limited to looking at the discrepancies and the contradictions in this paperwork. So if you look at what the SEC filings show that Bain on paper was calling Mitt Romney their president is their leader and their chief executive after 1999, up until 2002. On the other hand, they filed this financial disclosure report in the most recent one and again in 2007 that he left Bain Capital in 1999, that he actually retired. And so, it`s really difficult for most laymen and most people in the political sphere as well to understand how both these things can be true. You know, how can you retire from a company in 1999 and then remain as president and CEO and chairman? So, I think that`s a discrepancy that we`re reporting and that`s really the crux of the story. And the Romney people did ask for a correction. They`re not getting one. I mean, they haven`t been table to show that any of the reporting was inaccurate. They don`t like the take of the story, and they don`t like the way it looks. And that`s been the difficulty for them. One of the things that`s really interesting in our reporting that we`ve uncovered is that in Mitt Romney himself in 2002, I think you alluded to when he was -- the Democrats tried to get him off the ballot in Massachusetts in 2002 by challenging his residency, and during the hearings that challenged the residency, he successfully beat that allegation, but he said that during his testimony that I took a leave of absence. So, even his own frame of mind in 2002 as he looked back over the previous three years was a leave of absence. It wasn`t retirement. But now you fast forward 15 years and look at what they`re saying now in the financial disclosure form, for example. It says retired. So they`ve really sort of evolved to what they`ve said themselves and what the candidate had said himself about his frame of mind during that time. MADDOW: Christopher Rowland, the Washington bureau chief of "The Boston Globe" -- thank you for helping us sort there this. And thanks for your reporting on this. It`s nice to have you here. Thanks. ROWLAND: Thanks for having me. MADDOW: It`s remarkable, that evolution. Isn`t it uncanny to the way it always evolves that he gets credit for things that are seen as good and he gets no responsibility for anything that`s seen as bad. It`s uncanny the way that wins around. All right, Mudcat Saunders is here tonight for the interview. I`m really looking for that. And we`ve got a "rah-rah sis bomba" good news, best new thing in the world today. That`s all still ahead. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: At this hour right now just outside of beautiful Jackson, Wyoming, the Republican`s party presumptive presidential nominee this year is kissing the ring of the last Republican vice president of the United States. Finally, it is a long awaited passing of the torch from the last Republican administration to the man they hope will lead the next one. Can we go to the video tape of the big Romney-Cheney videotape in Wyoming? Sorry, I`m being told there is no videotape of that event tonight in Wyoming. Very sorry. The former vice president, Dick Cheney, is hosting Mr. Romney tonight in Wyoming at an event that is closed to TV cameras, as you see here. There will be no video evidence of Mitt Romney standing next to Dick Cheney tonight. Let me offer one possible reason for that. That right there, you see it? Very small. That right there was Dick Cheney`s approval rating when he left office back in 2009, a very impressive 13 percent. Impressive in the sense you have to try to get an approval rating that low. George Bush, despite his best efforts almost managed to get an approval rating that low. But even he could not conquer Cheney territory. That data right there I think goes a long way to explaining why tonight in Wyoming is the first joint appearance by Mitt Romney with either George Bush or Dick Cheney, and at that joint appearance -- no cameras. I mean, it is awkward, right? The Bush years were bad years for the country. No Republican wants to remind the country of what it was like the last time we had a Republican in the White House. But, you know, in one political way it is awkward. There is some stuff about the Bush-Cheney years that was actually pretty good compared to what Romney and the Republicans are offering right now. Por ejemplo, Republicans in the era of George W. Bush actually did some significant outreach to minority voters. You may recall Mr. Bush`s 2004 campaign manager Ken Mehlman going to the NAACP in 2005 during President Bush`s second term, making a genuine effort to court African- American votes. Mr. Mehlman apologized to the NAACP on behalf of the Republican Party for the party`s history of playing racial politics in the past in order to court white voters. Ken Mehlman said it was wrong for the Republicans to have done that. During his reelection campaign in 2004, President Bush did pretty intensive outreach to the African-American community ahead of that vote, with his African-American steering committee. The Bush administration despite the many, many, many, many, many faults did also make real attempts to reach out to the Hispanic community. On policy, George W. Bush advocated for comprehensive immigration reform. He reached out to Democrats like Ted Kennedy to try to fix the broken immigration system in a bipartisan way. He failed, of course, but at least he tried on that policy. And on politics, the Bush team did so much outreach to the Hispanic community that he actually managed to increase his share of the Hispanic vote from 2000 to 2004 when he was dramatically less popular overall. George W. Bush got 44 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004. Mitt Romney on the other hands, in terms of policy, he`s trying to appeal to the Hispanic community in 2012 by proposing his immigration policy. He calls it self deportation. He`s also pledging to veto the DREAM Act and he`s promising to follow the lead of Arizona, of all places, for national immigration laws. That sort of outreach has earned him an appeal with Hispanic voters that is, oh, look at that, 40 points below President Obama. He`s even down 18 points from what George W. Bush did with Hispanic voters. But the Romney campaign is trying to move that dial among Hispanic voters. You want to know how? They just released this Spanish language TV ad yesterday. It features Mitt Romney`s son Craig speaking Spanish. So, that`s something. How much fire power is the Romney campaign putting behind that ad? How much money are they spending to air it? Reportedly, they are putting up $10,000 for that ad buy in Raleigh, North Carolina -- $10,000 -- which is 1 million cents. Just for comparison. Here`s the amount the Romney campaign is putting behind the latest Obama is a lying liar right now just in North Carolina. So, yes, the Hispanic outreach ad, the on they`re spending $10,000 to air, that will apparently be coming to a local cable access channel near you, but probably not at prime time. Beyond his panic outreach, how is the Republican side doing on African-American voter outreach? How are they carrying on the George W. Bush legacy there? Well, earlier this year, the RNC promised a big new voter outreach effort to court African-American voters. The Republican Party said they were going to introduce a brand new Web site that supposed to, quote, "go live in the next two weeks," featuring testimonials from the party`s most prominent black elected officials, including Florida Congressman Allen West and South Carolina Congressman Tim Scott. In the wake of Mitt Romney`s not so excellent adventure at the NAACP yesterday, the Web site Talking Points Memo decided to see whatever became of the planned RNC outreach program. Quoting, TPM, the site cannot be ready found on the GOP`s current web page. An official told TPM that the Republican Party doesn`t currently have an African-American outreach Web site, raising the specter that Republican Party chairman Reince Priebus, the site he envisions never came to fruition, or maybe it`s since been taken down, and when it was up, nobody noticed it? Yes, they`re right. There`s nothing there. They said in April, wait two weeks, it will be there. It will be awesome. Now, it`s July. There`s nothing there. You know, give him credit. The Republican Party actually knows their base. That`s where they are focusing their voter outreach right now right this second it`s in Wyoming, at a country club with a certain someone who once shot a guy in the face but who now has a brand new heart. They know who they are. They just don`t really want to talk about it that much. Nor do they want you to see any moving pictures of it. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: There is an event that happens every few years that is totally unifying in a rah rah rah sis bomba cheer at the television kind of way. It`s a time when Americans don`t cheer against one another at all. We all cheer in the same direction. We all pull in the same direction. And that day came unexpectedly early this year. And its impact is heartwarming in a really, really angry bipartisan way. That`s the best new thing in the world. And that is straight ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: The Mitt Romney presidential campaign picked today as the day to launch a new ad campaign essentially calling President Obama a liar. Everybody expects harsh language in campaigns on all sides. But this is the Romney campaign really sticking their necks out. They`re calling the president a liar for criticizing Mr. Romney for things done by his old company, Bain Capital. The grounds on which they`re calling the president a liar is they`re saying those things happened after 1999, which is when Mitt Romney has been saying he left Bain Capital. Here`s the bad timing part: unfortunately for the Romney campaign, they decided to launch their new ad on this today, on the same day "The Boston Globe" published a blockbuster saying SEC shows Mitt Romney still owned Bain Capital well past 1999 no matter what he says. So, this is bad timing for Mitt Romney, calling the president a liar for criticizing him about Bain after 1999, on the same day "The Globe" says, hey, Mitt Romney was still at Bain after 1999. So, who is the liar? And Romney campaign already made this big expensive ad buy for the liar ad in all these hotly contested crucial swing states. Bad timing, right? If you look at the poll map of swing states this year, it looks very much like it did in 2008. We`ve been talking about that on the show recently. But there are a few wild cards because there are a bunch of states that Barack Obama won in 2008, that not only did John Kerry lose, but nobody thought any Democrat would have a chance of winning them. Barack Obama won Indiana. He won North Carolina. He won Colorado and Nevada, and he won Virginia, which no Democrat had won in a presidential race since 1964. Not even Bill Clinton either time. But Barack Obama won Virginia and he won by a lot. Even though before 2008 his presidential politics were so very red for a very long time, Virginia as a place overall had been sort of getting bluer and bluer. Democrats had control of the state Senate. They had ousted Republican George "macaca" Allen from the U.S. Senate in 2006 and replaced him with a Democrat named Jim Webb. They have a really popular Democratic governor named Mark Warner, Tim Kaine. The Democratic part of the state, particularly the suburbs around D.C. were growing and becoming more influential in the state. If Virginia was not exactly cobalt blue by the time of the Obama election, it was trending to a bluey shade of purple. Barack Obama wins it really big in 2008. And then, since then, Virginia has been through kind of a big reversal -- the electoral equivalent of whiplash. In 2009 Virginia elected an anti-abortion activist governor, Bob McDonnell -- a guy who drop what he was doing in the mid-30s so he could go to televangelist Pat Robinson`s Regent University. There, he wrote his graduate thesis on how government should design public policy to punish cohabitators, homosexuals and fornicators. Hey, that`s me. When Bob McDonnell got himself in to the Virginia state assembly, he spent his time there introducing or cosponsoring 35 separate anti-abortion bills. And in 2009, Virginia elected him governor. The same year, in 2009, Virginia picked this guy as governor, Ken Cuccinelli. He spent his first years in office suing the federal government over health reform. How did that work out? Ken Cuccinelli also designed a new and more modest version of Virginia`s official state seal, less chest, if you know what I mean. Then, Virginia elected a legislature that passed a bill requiring a medically unnecessary vaginal probe ultrasound for any woman trying to get an abortion in Virginia -- a forced vaginal probe ultrasound. And that is how Governor Bob McDonnell, who used to be a leading contender for vice president, became known coast to coast as governor ultrasound. And now nobody thinks he`s going to be vice president of anything. At the last minute, they did change the law so it`s not technically a forced vaginal ultrasound specifically, but it is still forced, and they made sure that you have to pay for it. The Virginia state government, under Republican controlled mandates that you have to have a medically unnecessary ultrasound and you have to pay for it. If you can`t afford your state mandated ultrasound, Virginia wrote up a list of places where you can get one for free. And they`re all those anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers, which are less real medical clinics and more places where anti-abortion activists stand ready to give you a lecture, and free scary literature along with maybe your free ultrasound. Under this new Republican governor in Virginia, politics there have gone off the rails. Virginia Republicans have become a liability for even the national Republican Party. I mean, instead of possibly sharing the spotlight with Mitt Romney at the convention this summer, governor ultrasound has been assigned to chair the platform committee, which means you can find him in the back by the deflated balloons and the cup cakes nobody wanted with everybody in him worrying that he`s putting something in there about a medically mandated procedure. But Virginia is the state that less than four years ago went for Barack Obama, decisively, along with a lot of other blue surprises. The Obama win was not a landslide exactly, but coast to coast, the country did kind of fell in love with him, right? It`s true that new presidents come with high approval ratings. That`s part of winning. But Mr. Obama`s approval ratings after he got elected were roughly in the quadruple digits, right? Just impossible numbers. That was this country in 2008. And then two years later, in 2010, we saw the biggest Republican landslide in a lifetime -- a red tide in Congress in the midterms and in the state capitals across the nation. Since then Republicans have been governing as though they have a mandate for their agenda. This has been a really radical couple of years under Republican governance since the 2010 election. You see that with the Republicans this week holding their 33rd pointless, symbolic vote to repeal health care reform. You see it with their parade of bills on contraception and abortion. You see it in states where Republicans are in control, like Virginia, which is becoming microcosm for those same debates. Blue in 2008, deep red ever since, and a deep form of red that seems way more conservative than the state ever looked before. Republicans have been governing as though we are a very right wing country made up of very right wing states. And we`re not. Not at the federal level. And not in places like Virginia, not if recent history is any guide. The same Virginia Democratic strategist who ran the Jim Webb for Senate candidate that ousted macaca George Allen, same guy who got Mark Warner elected governor, is now running a campaign against the number two Republican in the House of Representatives, Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor. Joining us for the interview is my friend Mudcat Saunders. He`s a Democratic political strategist from Virginia. He`s working on the congressional campaign right now of Democratic Wayne Powell, who`s up against Eric Cantor. It`s great to see you, Mudcat. Thank you for being here. MUDCAT SAUNDERS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Wonderful seeing you, Rachel. MADDOW: Is that a fair description of what happened in Virginia since Republicans took over? SAUNDERS: Well, the ground is different now. It`s -- you`re talking about Bob McDonnell law. I call it sodomy Bob. He -- the story in 2003, he was in the general assembly, and he put in his bill where if you were a judge, you had to swear on oath like Boy Scout honor that you never committed sodomy. Well, a reporter from (INAUDIBLE) "Daily Press" asked him if he had ever committed sodomy, and he went -- I don`t recall. Now, I`ve got a bad memory. I forgot where my car keys were plenty of times, and sometimes I forgot where my car was. But there`s certain things that you don`t ever forget. (LAUGHTER) MADDOW: Do you think that Eric Cantor is -- obviously you wouldn`t be working on this campaign of Wayne Powell if you didn`t think that Eric Cantor was beatable? Do you think that Eric Cantor is beatable any year or do you think year in this Virginia in particular, he`s particularly vulnerable? SAUNDERS: Of course, he`s vulnerable, because you got the Organizing for Americans getting out for Democrats. See, that was the difference between the 2008 and 2010 cycle, the Organizing for America. You also have Mike Henry with Tim Kaine`s campaign, who`s going to be getting out to Democrats. So, that`s what we intend to do. We intend to take a battle to Eric Cantor. It`s time we fight these guys. We`re going to fight him. We`re going to tell the truth about him. And that is that he`s bought and paid for. The first thing I told the campaign, maybe I`ve been in the hills too long. But I`ll call him a bought and paid for where I came. But I`ll say it a different way, he`s bought and paid for crook is what he is. And for those with the Cantor campaign listening, it`s C-R-O-O-K, crook. And this guy -- the bad guys who have given him money, and we`ve -- everybody in America knows the truth. Everybody in seventh district knows the truth. We`re now in the midst of a coin operated government. And he`s the leader. MADDOW: When you say he`s a crook, when you say that he`s a thing you are alluding to what you said before, I thank you for not saying on my TV show -- you mean that he is taking money for votes? What are you accusing him of? SAUNDERS: Well, of course he is. I mean, if you look at Sheldon Adelson, he gave $5 million to the Young Guns PAC. Of course, I don`t know what the Young Guns PAC is all about anyway, what that crap is. I mean, it should be called the middle age roadblock, because that`s what they`re doing. I mean, he`s running the campaign on, you know, I`m in the way. I mean, America doesn`t want people in the way now, especially the seven districts. You know, and with the do nothing Congress that is Eric Cantor`s fault. I mean, we need to fight this guy. MADDOW: What do you think -- when you talk to people in the district and you`re promoting you`re candidate against Eric Cantor -- obviously, Eric Cantor has great name recognition. You think his negatives are high and people don`t like him very much. But what are the issues on which a Democrat can compete with a Republican that famous and that well-funded? SAUNDERS: Well, it`s simple. I have a pretty horse. I hope you have him on soon. His name is Wayne Powell. He`s a former military -- retired military intelligence officer. And his politics are simple. He`s an expanded Jacksonian democracy. He believes in two principles: social justice for all people. That includes gays and women. We`re going to shout that from the rooftops. And also economic fairness for all people, and that includes the hardworking middle class. I mean, it`s ridiculous. I mean, Eric Cantor -- and we`re going to do something that we do in Virginia, we`re going to wave the flag. I mean, this idea of the Republicans stealing the flag from us, here is one of the most unpatriotic human beings who ever walked in the commonwealth. And we don`t want to just beat him. We want to ruin him. He shorted U.S. treasury bonds. Can you -- he bet against the United States of America while he was majority leader from his own portfolio, you know, from his own financial portfolio. And you know, it`s a good thing he wasn`t a baseball player. I mean they threw Pete Rose out of baseball because he bats on his own team. Eric Cantor bets against, you know, against his team and they don`t do anything. MADDOW: Mudcat Saunders, Virginia Democratic political strategist, justly famous as being very bare-knuckled, now working on the campaign of Eric Cantor`s Democratic challenger Wayne Powell -- Mudcat, it`s good to see you here. SAUNDERS: Thank you. MADDOW: Thanks for being here. All right. Best new thing in the world today still ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: This is what the Republicans` jobs, jobs, jobs agenda looks like, by which I mean the abortion agenda. This is what the Republicans did with their big new majority after the 2010 election. Republicans` jobs, jobs, jobortion agenda is so fast they`re focusing on the area of legislation so intently that it kind of seems like there should be a monthly newsletter for following this sort of thing. Actually, there kind of is, if you count the Guttmacher Institute`s exhaustive monthly updates on what Republicans are trying to do to abortion rights right now. With such a gigantic body of work to draw from because they`re working on it so intently, you can`t actually pull out and identify trends in current anti-abortion law-making. There`s categories and subcategories. One of the trends since 2010 and maybe even a few years earlier is a 20-week ban on abortion. It started in 2010 in the great state of Nebraska. The Republican Governor Dave Heineman signed a law restricting when women are allowed to get an abortion in the state, can`t have them after the 20th week of pregnancy in Nebraska. Since then, similar laws have been enacted in eight other states, including three of them that just passed the ban into law this year. One important thing to know on these 20-week bans on abortion, about when you`re allowed to get an abortion, is that these bans are totally unconstitutional. According to Roe versus Wade, according to the Supreme Court, states don`t get to ban abortions before what`s called viability. In the two years that these bans have been trending in the very red states, there hasn`t been much of an argument on that point. People who are doing this know it`s unconstitutional. Many of the people pushing for this bans admit that they`re unconstitutional. One anti-abortion group that wrote sort of model legislation for these things is on the record practically begging to be sued, begging for a court challenge, because they think if they get challenged on this, they might end up in court in a way that could have them overturning Roe versus Wade. They told "Politico" last year, quote, "this is all an explosion, which we think if presented to the court, they would recognize the rights of the fetus. I was surprised it wasn`t challenged, and I would like to see that." They`re begging for this. They`re begging for a court challenge. Anti-abortion activists and lawmakers all over the country are inviting a court challenge with this abortion bans that are obviously unconstitutional. And it`s been sort of a win-win situation for them. If they go to court, they think they`ll get their chance to overthrow Roe versus Wade and ban abortion all together. That`s what they most want. But in the meantime, while they`re not being sued they get the next best thing. They get a partial ban on abortion, a ban on some abortions which are supposed to be constitutionally protected. They get to enforce these bans even though everybody knows they are constitutional. They have been able to end abortion rights in this country. But right now, six states are enforcing with impunity laws that have rolled back abortion rights that are protected by Roe versus Wade, that are protected by the Constitution. And another three states have new bans like this, new 20-week bans that have not yet taken effect. Back in April, Arizona`s Republican Governor Jan Brewer signed the most restricted one of these bans yet. It actually bans abortions a little earlier than the rest of the 20-week bans. But it uses the same reasoning in doing so. It is set to go into effect in Arizona at the beginning of next month. One by one, in state after state, these laws have been allowed to take effect and thereby chip away at abortion rights established in 1973 by Roe versus Wade. But as of today, there`s reason to believe that`s not going to be allowed to happen anymore. This is a landmark decision. Today, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the ACLU filed a lawsuit. They decided to sue against the state of Arizona over its new ban, asking a federal judge to strike down that law is unconstitutional and in the meantime, to block it from taking effect in three weeks, which is the time it scheduled to go into effect. They`re arguing that the ban violates the Supreme Court`s precedent which grants abortion rights until viability and stands to hurt woman seeking abortions because of health complications. Quote, "It presents positions with an untenable choice, to face criminal prosecution for continuing to provide abortion care and accordance with their best medical judgment, or to stop providing the critical care their patients need. This is the first time one of these new bans has been challenged in court. We have winged (ph) on this show openly about the fact that these bans weren`t being challenged before. Now, they`re being challenged. This is the first time since the 20-week ban came in fashion among the new Republican majority that it`s not just been allowed to become law. The anti-abortion forces behind these bans now stand to get that Supreme Court battle they have been looking for. But if they lose, if the courts decide to uphold Roe versus Wade and strike down Arizona`s ban on certain abortions, the seven states that are already enforcing bans might have to stop doing so. This one trend in the Republican Party`s 2010 political capital campaign might be over. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: The best new thing in the world today is the glue that nets us all together, by which of course I mean -- anger. Just watch Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the mildest mannered, softest-spoken man on Capitol Hill. Watch him get the maddest you over ever going to see him. Watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: I hope that I`m not -- because I`m from the same things that over there (INAUDIBLE) -- but I am so upset. I got carried away with my -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rhetoric. REID: Rhetoric. Yes. (END VIDEO CLIP MADDOW: In Harry Reid`s world, that is the equivalent of hog smash. What makes him so angry he cannot come up with the word rhetoric? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REID: I am so upset that I think the Olympic Committee should be ashamed of themselves. I think they should be embarrassed. I think they should take all of the uniforms, put them in the big pile and burn them and start all over again. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Harry Reid is he`s mad at the U.S. Olympic team`s uniforms. So mad he wants to burn them. Specifically the uniforms the U.S. team will be wearing at the opening ceremonies in London later this month. It`s not because he thinks they`re ugly, which many people justly think they are. But, you know, U.S. Olympic team uniforms have been ugly before. It`s not because they have tacky corporate logos on them advertising the company that designed them. Corporate logos on uniforms are also sadly nothing new. Remember those roots hats everybody was wearing in 2002? I`m talking to you, senior producer Ilan Riley (ph). I`ve seen you wear it. The reason he`s upset is that U.S. Olympic teams uniforms are made in China. And anger over that is bringing America together in a heartwarming way. Two people who agree on almost nothing ever, House Speaker John Boehner and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, they agree on this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA: They`re so excellent, it`s all so beautiful and they should be wearing uniforms that are made in America. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Made in America. And look at the look on John Boehner`s face as a reporter asked him about it. Look at it in super slow-mo. You know what he said to reporters? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE SPEAKER: You think they would know better. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Everybody. People you like, people you hate, people who are smart, people who are stupid, everybody hates these uniforms. Take me for example. I don`t know what you think about me, but I agree with John Boehner. I hereby announce that I hate that U.S. Olympic team`s opening ceremony uniforms are made in China, which puts me for maybe the first time ever in the same ideological camp as "FOX & Friends. Today, I am one of those friends. (BEGIN VDIEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take a look at a new Ralph Lauren ad out this morning which shows some of our Olympic athletes in the Olympic uniforms, of course, are going to be held in the U.K. It has nothing to do with France. Here`s the American flag, these Americans dressed in these outfits with berets on. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this a new American trend now, are we going to be seeing berets? And you have to pronounce it that way, too, because that`s the French way. By the way, those jackets are very pricey, too. So I`m not sure people are going to be snapping those up. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For women, the blazer $600. For men like that guy right there, it is $800. And by the way, all of those clothes are made in China. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: So, I`m in my happy place. I`m in comfort zone, being annoyed by "FOX & Friends" and finding them inane while they`re going about playing French music and the berets and, you know, with all this stuff, then they get to the end, made in China. I`m like, yes, right, made in China. I`m with you guys! Those three words following the phrase American uniforms created a soft pile of blankets which I want to snuggle up with "FOX & Friends." Unity, America, we have finally been brought together by the Olympics and it came early --best new thing in the world today. Now it`s time for "THE LAST WORD" with Lawrence O`Donnell -- thanks for being with us. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END